The China threat is finally prompting the Philippines to step up military modernisation. Will it succeed? | News World

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“Among the air and ground assets that have been acquired are frigates, FA-50PH [South Korean supersonic jet fighters], ATMOS [Israeli self-propelled] howitzers and shore-based missile systems,” he added.

It’s a jarring change from years marked by failed and desultory modernisation efforts. Proponents of the expansion can thank two countries: China and the United States.

With its increasing encroachment on Philippine maritime areas and harassment of the country’s vessels, China provided the clear threat that, 12 years ago, alarmed Manila enough to start a build-up. The US, meanwhile, has become an indispensable partner in the process, providing equipment, training and, through the 1951 Mutual Defence Treaty, outright support in the event of an attack.

In a paper published in February, Renato de Castro, a distinguished professor of international studies at the De La Salle University, pointed out how “China’s myopic nationalism, growing naval prowess and unilateral actions were overtly directed against a militarily weak Southeast Asian country – the Philippines.

Chinese coastguard vessels use water cannons against a Philippine ship on a supply mission to Second Thomas…

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