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US military not bringing nukes to Philippines
Published on: Monday, August 21, 2023
By: MindaNews
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US military not bringing nukes to Philippines
DAVAO CITY: The US military is not bringing in nuclear warheads under the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (Edca), US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson (pic) declared in an interview with reporters at Park Inn by Radisson Davao.

Carlson was reacting to the statement of former President Rodrigo Duterte that the US military could bring nuclear weapons to the locations identified under Edca.

“There are no nuclear warheads in the facilities that are managed by the US in conjunction with the Philippine military,” she said.

She said those Edca sites belong to the Philippines, and that participation of the US military is to provide assistance in modernising the host country’s armed forces.

“Let me go back to what I just talked about Edca, these are Philippine bases. These are Philippine territories. These are American projects or American investments in collaboration with Philippine counterparts, our Philippine allies,” she said.

The diplomat added that the US is not asking for any territory within the Philippines but that they are here to work with their Philippine counterparts as “equal sovereign nations, to do what’s best for our people, to protect lives, and to protect livelihoods.”

She cited that during his 2nd State of the Nation Address last July 24, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assured the Filipino people that he would not cede even one square inch of the country’s territory to any other state.

“I think he might have been talking mostly about the West Philippine Sea but we, in the US, take him at his word. We’re not asking for any territory within the Philippines.

These are not US bases. This isn’t a US attempt to gain a sort of foothold or sovereign territory within the Philippines,” she said.

In his interview during “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” last June 26, Duterte urged the Marcos Jr. administration and the US to inform the Filipino people about the “US military bases” under Edca that have actually been established in the country, as he warned that the country would become a battleground if war erupts between US and China.

Duterte, who disallowed Edca during his time as President, said the US could bring nuclear warheads to its military installations in the country.

He feared that the “the next war or wars will be fought mainly using nuclear warheads.”

“We don’t know because of Edca, they are bringing in some right now. 

There is no accounting of the weapons in the hands of Americans to use against China if war breaks out. But we can be sure and it would be stupid for us or so naive to think that there is none,” he said.

He said the consequence of a US attack on China would be a retaliation with nuclear arms against the Philippines.

Carlson said the US government is investing in the facilities that are jointly designated by both the Philippine and US militaries, including the $26-million investment on the Basa Air Base in Pampanga, one of the existing sites of Edca.

“It’s what our partners in the Philippine military have strategically looked at where projects are needed to help modernise the Philippine forces and improve Philippine readiness that also improves alliance readiness and enhances our interoperability,” she said.

The original five Edca sites include Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, and Macta-Benito Abuen Air Base in Cebu.

Meanwhile, there are additional sites included under Edca such as the Naval Base Camilo Osias in Sta. Ana, Cagayan; Lal-lo Airport in Lal-lo, Cagayan; Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela; and Balabac Island in Palawan.

Carlson said it’s possible that more locations would be developed in the future “as threats and concerns are also evolving,” including natural disasters such as earthquakes, flooding, and typhoons.“

It’s quite possible that there will be more Edca projects that are developed over time. I would imagine that there would be in the same way that our Mutual Defence Treaty, as President Marcos, has said, is always evolving,” she said.

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