US defense official cautions Philippines on planned purchase of Russian subs, military equipment
A high-ranking United States defense official warned the Philippines against possible acquisition of major military equipment from Russia.
In an interview with reporters on Thursday, Randall Schriver, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs said the plan of the Philippines to acquire big ticket items from Russia, like submarines, is not helpful with its alliance with the United States.
“I think they should think very carefully about that. It’s not a, it’s not a, this, if they would have proceed with purchasing major Russian equipment. I don't think that’s a helpful thing to the alliance and ultimately I think we can be a better partner than the Russians can be to the Philippine people,” he said.
“When you buy weapons systems particularly major platforms you're not just buying capability, you're investing in a relationship and finding US platforms. US solutions helps us continue in our interoperability, helps us improve our ability to operate in all kinds of scenarios, so that is an opportunity (cause) if you choose another supplier,” Schriver noted.
I think more than that, I mean let’s understand the nature of this regime in Russia. I don't need to go to the full laundry list: Crimea Ukraine, the chemical attack in the UK. So you are investing in not only platforms but making a statement about our relationship,” he added.
It can be recalled that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana recently mentioned that the country will more likely purchase its submarine to Russia.
He said the Russian government is willing to provide soft loans for the submarine acquisition project for the Philippine Navy.
Lorenzana added that Russia is offering its Kilo Class Submarines to the Philippines.
He noted that the Philippine is still looking at other countries who will also offer submarines for the Philippine Navy.
Schriver said as part of his two-das visit in the country he ,et Lorenzana on Thursday morning.
“We discussed the full range of our bilateral defense and military relationship so we talked about our ongoing interest in counter terrorism cooperation, regional security such as South China Sea, future plans of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to modernize and how we can support them, so it was a very broad discussion,” he said
Schiver said it is the first time that he visited the country as assistant secretary of defense for Asian and pacific security affairs.
“I am making my first visit to the Philippines as assistant secretary of defense. I have been here in previous capacities but first time since I assumed this responsibility, so this is a good opportunity for me to come and meet with the leadership here, the DND, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and government officials to discuss regional security issues, bilateral relationship and alliance, how we can support the goals of the government here in Manila,” he said.
“We want to be a partner that's valued by contributing things that are important to the government, here the armed forces,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS