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PH eyes arms from China

BEIJING – The Philippine government is considering the acquisition of military equipment, including fast boats and drones, from China’s biggest arms exporter to enhance anti-terrorism and security capability.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the government intends to forge a letter of intent with China to negotiate the possible purchase of military assets, assuring that it would go for quality goods at a reasonable price.

The possibility of a military purchase was raised after the President met with top officials of the state-owned China Poly Group Corp. and Poly Technologies Inc. on the sidelines of an international trade summit here.

“It’s not yet a document. It’s a letter of intent to deal with them because they’re offering us a lot, a wide array of defense equipment, an offer of a loan from the Chinese government at the tune of about 500 million US dollars,” Lorenzana said in a media interview in Beijing last Sunday night.

As part of the “letter of intent,” Lorenza said the government will send a technical working group to China “to look at the equipment and see what we need” this year. Such process of shopping and reviewing the equipment offer will likely take a few months, he added.

“And after that, we’ll go from there. We are not saying that we will buy from them or we will not buy from them,” Lorenzana said. “But if we need anything from the Chinese defense industry then we’re going to procure using the loan that they are going to offer to us,” he added. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)