Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the Chinese government is set to deliver another shipment of firearms in the country this coming September.
“China has sent it. There’ll be another shipment of arms (in) September,” Duterte said in his speech at the 26th anniversary of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday, July 12.
Last month, China donated P370-million worth of rifles and ammunition to the Philippine military to help combat terrorism, particularly in the ongoing operations against the Islamic State (IS)-pro Maute group in Marawi City in Mindanao.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua previously described the move as a demonstration of the two countries’ “growing bilateral relationship” and a “new era of friendly and cooperative relationship between our two militaries.”
Under a so-called independent foreign policy, Duterte, who assumed the presidency in June of last year, has been exerting efforts to build warmer ties with China and Russia while trying to reduce the Philippines’ reliance on its decades-long ally, the United States.
With the recent and shipment of firearms, the president clarified that the Philippines is not entering military alliances with other nations, pointing out that it would violate the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty it signed with U.S.
“Because we have this RP-U.S. pact, so I could not enter into any other military alliances. That would be a violation of the treaty,” Duterte said.
The president, however, noted that he could still seek help from other countries in issues concerning the economy and terrorism.
“But on economics and terrorism, I can always go to other nations for help,” Duterte remarked.
He went on to say, “I never suggested anything about alliances, but I told China, we can do joint military maneuvers.”
Duterte added that the government of Russia is set to assist the Philippines soon. “I expect Russia to help us in due time,” he said.