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DFA chief wants US to re-arm the Philippines

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
DFA chief wants US to re-arm the Philippines
In a post on Twitter following his meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, Locsin described enhancing the Philippines’ self-defense capability as the “wisest” alternative that the US can take amid concerns over China’s aggression in the region.
US Embassy Photo

MANILA, Philippines — Despite President Duterte’s position that the Philippines will avoid procuring military equipment from the United States, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. still wants the country’s long-time ally to re-arm the Philippine military.

In a post on Twitter following his meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, Locsin described enhancing the Philippines’ self-defense capability as the “wisest” alternative that the US can take amid concerns over China’s aggression in the region.

“The wisest, most expeditious alternate to one or the other view is for the US to help re-arm our military (it prefers US weaponry as I kept telling the US) and enhance our self-defense capability; leaving the initial decision to fight to us in our best light,” he wrote.

Locsin issued the statement after Pompeo committed to defend the Philippines in the event of an armed attack on its forces or interests in the disputed South China Sea.

In January, Duterte vowed not to acquire military equipment from the US, noting its criticisms of alleged human rights violations in the country.

“I will not agree to buy. It doesn’t look good. It does not sit well with the Filipinos that they will treat you that way and you just obey,” the President said in a mix of English and Filipino in a speech in Bulacan.

“If you buy from China or maybe Russia, you will be included in embargo, you cannot trade with America,” he added.

Duterte earlier pushed for procurement of military equipment from other countries, particularly Russia.

No division

Still on Twitter, Locsin maintained that contrary views of members of the administration do not show division but a “big brain” for being able to have multiple positions.

“Let’s not hear that it shows division in the administration. No, it only shows this is a big brain administration that can hold contrary views in its mind. Only simpletons can hold just one. I refer you to previous administrations,” he said.

Locsin may have been referring to conflicting positions on the review of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States.

The foreign affairs chief on Friday said there is no need to review the treaty, contradicting Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who earlier said there is a need to look at the 68-year old agreement.

MIKE POMPEO MUTUAL DEFENSE TREATY TEODORO LOCSIN JR. UNITED STATES
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