The Chinese government has allocated $19.5 million in military equipment to the Philippines despite tensions over the highly-contested South China Sea.
According to the Philippine Department of National Defense, the first $11 million batch of military aid arrived in Manila on January 16. This included rescue and relief equipment for the country’s armed forces.
Although the precise arrival date of the second $8.5 million batch of military donations has yet to be disclosed, the defense department said that the equipment would be formally turned over to the Armed Forces of the Philippines next month.
The donation is reportedly part of Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s commitment to supporting the Philippine government in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism efforts.
In addition to relief and rescue equipment, the southeast Asian nation will receive drone systems, detectors, explosive ordnance disposal robots, bomb disposal suits, transport vehicles, ambulances, water purification vehicles, fire trucks, and engineering supplies.
“I hope that the donation would play a role in maintaining peace and fighting terrorism campaign as well as providing humanitarian assistance and disaster response mission of typhoon Odette,” Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said in a press release.
He added that his country will continue to support the Philippines in disaster relief and military modernization initiatives.
DND: China donates P1 billion worth of military equipment to the Philippine military. The first batch of equipment arrived last Jan. 16. pic.twitter.com/krHMkXZfIo
— Frances G. Mangosing 🇵🇭 (@FrancesGM_) January 21, 2022
‘A Large Shortfall’
In recent years, China has assisted the Philippines in modernizing its military by donating high-powered weapons and equipment to support ongoing missions.
To boost its military influence in the Indo-Pacific region, the Asian giant donated warships to the Philippines in 2018. It also provided 3,000 assault rifles, ammunition, and accessories worth $3.3 million to the Philippine military in 2017.
Philippine defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana told INQUIRER.net that the recent donations would be a big help to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which is still facing “a large shortfall” in equipment.
When asked if the multimillion-dollar donations would soften the Philippines’ stance regarding the South China Sea, Lorenzana quickly replied, “Not a chance.”