Manila mil­i­tary deals can boost ties

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By MO JINGXI mo­jingxi@chi­

China said on Wed­nes­day that mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion with the Philip­pines is an im­por­tant part of bi­lat­eral ties, af­ter Philip­pine me­dia re­ported that there will be a meet­ing be­tween of­fi­cials of the two coun­tries next week re­gard­ing a pos­si­ble firearms deal.

This could lead to more deals in the fu­ture and push China-Philip­pines mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion fur­ther for­ward, ob­servers said.

Philip­pine De­fense Sec­re­tary Delfin Loren­zana said on Tues­day that he is sched­uled to meet with Chi­nese Am­bas­sador to the Philip­pines Zhao Jian­hua and a Chi­nese de­fense at­tache on Mon­day, and the two sides will de­ter­mine which type of firearms Beijing is will­ing to pro­vide to Manila, ac­cord­ing to the Manila Bul­letin.

Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte said ear­lier that he had de­cided to ac­cept an arms deal of­fered by China, with­out giv­ing de­tails.

While at­tend­ing a Christ­mas party for the Philip­pine me­dia on Mon­day night, the Chi­nese am­bas­sador said “it is not yet a done deal” and both par­ties are “still ex­plor­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties”, Philip­pine me­dia re­ported.

How­ever, Zhao said that if such a deal ma­te­ri­al­izes, China could pro­vide the Philip­pines with “light arms and not heavy equip­ment”.

He stressed that the mil­i­tary hard­ware that the Philip­pine govern­ment is in­ter­ested in could be used in the fight against ter­ror­ism and also in the Philip­pines’ anti-drug cam­paign, which Duterte has con­ducted since tak­ing of­fice in June.

For­eign Min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news con­fer­ence in Beijing that China sup­ports Duterte’s legal ac­tions in crack­ing down on drug crimes in the Philip­pines.

“Mil­i­tary ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion are an im­por­tant part of the China-Philip­pines re­la­tion­ship,” Geng added.

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