MANILA, Philippines – The government hopes the recent deal signed with Canada to help the Philippines buy military equipment to defend its territory will not raise further tensions with China, the Palace said on Sunday, November 11.
“This is part of our efforts to attain a minimum credible defense position. So we’re hoping that it will not be any differently received by any other parties,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte noted in a press briefing.
Valte explained that the pact is a regular transaction for the “procurement of defense and military-related equipment” to address the fundamental issue that the Armed Forces of the Philippines needs to upgrade its equipment.
President Benigno Aquino III witnessed the signing of the agreement on Saturday during the official visit of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The Philippines has been in the market for patrol vessels to protect its waters, including areas that overlap with territory claimed by China.
Both countries began a standoff in April over Scarborough Shoal, a group of islets in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) which Manila says is well within its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.
China claims the shoal as well as nearly all of the South China Sea, even waters close to the coasts of neighbouring countries such as the Philippines or Vietnam. – Rappler.com, with reports from Agence France-Presse