President Rodrigo Duterte said that he will not allow United States to deploy missile system in the Philippines.
This is after United States Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper said he is considering deploying conventional ground-based, intermediate-range missiles in Asia.
“There is an item there right now sa newspaper that they are going to place some ballistic, mid-range [missiles]. That can never happen,” President Duterte said during an event of Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) on August 6.
“That will never happen because I will not allow it, because it’s also a violation of the Constitution – you cannot place nuclear arms in the Philippines,” Duterte added.
When asked on the timeline of deployment, US Defense Secretary Esper said “that’s what we’re just discussing. I would prefer months.”
“I wouldn’t speculate because all those things depend on our plans. Those are things we – you always discuss with your allies. There’s a number of factors that weigh in there, so I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We need to first focus on programs and getting the systems right,” he said when asked on where in Asia the deployment would be.
Esper said China “should be unsurprised, because we’ve been talking about this for some time now. And they have – I want to say that 80 percent-plus of their inventory is INF-range systems, so why would – that shouldn’t surprise them that we would want to have a light capability.”
“What we want to do is deter conflict and compete with China and other countries in the economic realm, and diplomatically, if you will as well,” he said.