WASHINGTON (AP) — The Philippines is asking for more U.S. military hardware and says it’s in Washington’s strategic interest to help.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Wednesday the Philippines is submitting a list requesting patrol vessels and aircraft, radar systems and coast watch stations.
His comments come after high-level talks in Washington this week, and amid a continuing standoff between the Philippines and China at a disputed shoal in the South China Sea.
Last year, the U.S. transferred an aging cutter that is now a flagship vessel of the Philippine navy, and a second cutter is due to be handed over this year. But the Southeast Asian island nation’s navy remains underequipped and dwarfed by China’s.
Del Rosario told the Heritage Foundation think tank it was in other nations’ interest to support the Philippines in standing up for freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce and peaceful settlement of disputes.
“What’s happening is a manifestation of a larger threat,” he said. “We are doing this alone but we really should not be doing this alone. I think other countries should be concerned for their own interest.”
He said China had rejected a Philippine invitation for international arbitration over the sovereignty of the Scarborough Shoal, where the standoff began April 10 after the Philippine navy accused Chinese boats of fishing illegally. The Philippines says the shoal lies within its offshore exclusive economic zone.
China submitted a map to the U.N. in 2009 claiming virtually the entire South China Sea, but has not clarified the exact extent of its claims to the 200 islands, coral outcrops and banks spread over the potentially resource rich waters. Other claimants are Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.
Del Rosario said the Philippines would continue political, legal and diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute, but indicated that its efforts to build a “minimum credible defense” would strengthen its diplomatic hand.
“The United States needs a stronger ally in the region who will be able to take on a bigger share of guaranteeing the stability of that region. It’s therefore in the strategic interest of the U.S. to invest in the development of the Philippines’ defense and military capability,” del Rosario said.
After this week’s talks between their top diplomats and defense officials, U.S. reaffirmed its commitment to its mutual defense treaty with the Philippines, but said it does not take sides in territorial disputes in the South China Sea. However, Washington reiterated it has a national interest in the peaceful resolution of the disputes in a region crucial to global trade.
Del Rosario called for the U.S. to devote more of its foreign military financing to the Philippines, and complained that some funding has been withheld by Congress since 2008 over human rights concerns which he claimed Manila had taken steps to address. Rights groups say extra-judicial killings have decreased but there has been no progress on prosecutions of suspects.
The Philippine Embassy said in a press release Tuesday, the U.S. agreed this week to provide more “real-time information” to the Philippines on what is happening in its maritime territory. The Philippine release said the U.S. has indicated it would double its initial allocation of foreign military financing to the Philippines to $30 million for the fiscal year that ends in September, but the U.S has not publicized such details.
More Related Stories
- Anthony Weiner announces run for NYC mayor
- Why Democrats abandoned LGBT immigrants
- On freedom of speech, Obama-Nixon comparisons are apt
- Senate panel approves immigration overhaul
- Slave descendants seek equal rights from Cherokee Nation
- Peace Corps to allow gay couples to volunteer together
- Is abortion about to doom Republicans again?
- Anti-voter-fraud Tea Party group sues the IRS
- The Bachmann-inspired romance novel
- Nate Silver: Why the scandals aren't hurting Obama
- How to oust Michele Bachmann from Congress
- Rand Paul: Congress should apologize to Apple, not the other way around
- Who is Toronto Mayor Rob Ford?
- Colorado judge rules Abercrombie parent company violates Disabilities Act
- When America became a third-world country
- Inhofe and Coburn: Red state hypocrites
- It's Whitewater all over again
- Teen activist to meet with Abercrombie CEO
- Anyone regret slashing National Weather Service budget now?
- Oklahoma senator: Tornado aid "totally different" from Sandy aid
- Aloof, shifty Obama: Nixon times ten thousand!
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11