Beijing to Supply Manila with Weapons for Use in Drug War, Anti-Terrorism Campaign
China has committed to supplying arms to the Philippines to help President Rodrigo Duterte wage his controversial war on drugs that has killed over 5,000 suspected drug pushers and users in just a span of six months.
Chinese ambassador to Manila Zhao Jianhua on Monday told reporters that Beijing is ready to arm the Philippines with weapons that will be used by the Duterte government in its fight against illegal drugs.
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"We're exploring the possibilities of providing arms, light arms," Zhao told the media.
Aside from the anti-illegal drug war, Zhao said that small arms will also be used in the Philippines' anti-terrorism campaign.
The ambassador said no details have yet been discussed in the initial stages of the deal such as price and terms of payment, but he said Manila would likely opt for rifles as its weapons of choice.
Duterte had earlier said Beijing has expressed its willingness to supply Manila with arms under generous terms. "It is a grant payable in 25 years so it is practically giving," Duterte said.
Human Rights Violations
The ongoing Sino-Philippine arms deal comes on the heels of Duterte's recent cancellation of an order of close to 30,000 assault rifles from the US.
Philippine officials said the cancellation was made after international media reported that the delivery of weapons could be affected by human rights concerns over Duterte's war on drugs that includes extrajudicial killings.
Beijing had earlier expressed support to Duterte's anti-crime war, which was denounced by the United Nations, human rights watchdogs, and the international community, accusing Duterte of committing human rights violations.
Beijing and the Philippines have repaired their strained diplomatic ties following Duterte's election in June despite their dispute on the issue of the South China Sea.
Zhao said relations between the two countries are "getting better" especially after Duterte's "fruitful and historic" first state visit to China this year.