ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Spratly issue to surface in US talks
“Definitely, definitely [that will be tackled] because of the recent statements [from the Philippines, China and Vietnam] and developments that we’ve been hearing and seeing,” Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, Gen. Eduardo Oban Jr., said on Sunday.
He said that he would also take the opportunity to ask his United States counterpart to help the Armed Forces in the development of a “national coast system” that would enable the military to adequately monitor the Philippine coastline and protect its maritime resources.
Oban added that P11.9 billion had been allocated for the development of a “coast watch west” that covers, among others, the Spratlys. Part of that will also include the acquisition from the US Coast Guard of a large and modern Hamilton-class cutter patrol craft that is due to arrive in August.
“We would have coast watch stations there [in the West Philippine Sea], coast watch center. We would have radars and communication equipment there, basically that’s for detection and monitoring,” he said.
The Armed Forces chief stressed though that the development of a coast watch system in the West Philippine Sea has long been planned even before the series of Chinese incursions on Philippine territories. It is also not a sign that the Philippines is engaging China in an arms race.
“We would like to ask their [US] support in the development of the national coast system. What we need is not modernization, this is not an arms race. We were just putting the baseline development that any self-respecting nation should have, much more for the Philippines, which is a maritime nation,” Oban said.
This year’s MDB meeting is tentatively set in August in Hawaii. Last year, it was held at the Armed Forces headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City (Metro Manila).
Letters that do not contain full contact information cannot be published.
Letters become the property of AseanAffairs and may be republished in any format.
They typically run 150 words or less and may be edited
submit your comment in the box below