By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte declared Tuesday that he would never allow the United States to install missile systems in the country.
The President said that while he recognizes the country’s Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States, he would reject the entry of foreign weapons, including nuclear arsenal in the country since this is considered a violation of the Constitution.
“There’s an item in the newspaper that they are going to place some ballistic mid-range (missiles). That can never happen,” Duterte said before a gathering of Filipino-Chinese business leaders in Malacañang.
“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,” he added.
The United States reportedly wants to deploy new intermediate-range missiles in Asia supposedly to counter the rise of China in the region. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he wanted to deploy such capability “sooner rather than later” but did not specify where the US will deploy these weapons.
Apart from preventing the entry of foreign weapons, the President also said he would not allow “foreign troops, not only the Americas, in my land.”
“No troops will be stationed in Pag-asa Island,” he said, insisting he does not want the Philippines to be caught in the middle of the conflict between the United States and China.
These foreign powers can launch missiles that will “cross the Philippines but make sure they will not fall short” on the country, Duterte said in a jest. “I will get angry with you. If you want a fight, fight among yourselves. It’s geopolitics,” he said.