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Defense chief rejects dev’t of nuclear arms

/ 04:42 AM April 22, 2019

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana rejected on Sunday the suggestion of former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile that the country develop nuclear weapons to finally put a stop to China’s bullying in the West Philippine Sea.

Lorenzana pointed out that the Philippines was a signatory to the global nuclear nonproliferation treaty and that the Constitution expressly prohibits war as an instrument of national policy.

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‘Very unlikely’

Thus, Lorenzana said in a short message to reporters on Sunday, developing nuclear weapons to enforce the ruling of the arbitral tribunal was “very unlikely.”

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Moreover, he pointed out that it will take decades for the Philippines to develop the technical or technological capacity to develop such weapons.

Nonproliferation treaty

“We are [also] a signatory to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty,” he said.

The nonproliferation treaty is an international agreement aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, promoting cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and aims for global nuclear disarmament.

Constitutional prohibition

It came into effect in 1970 and has, to date, 191 signatory states, inclduing the Philippines.

Lorenzana said the Constitution also explicitly stated that the Philippines “denounces war as an instrument of national policy.”

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“(A) nuclear weapon is not a defensive weapon but an offensive one,” he stressed.

“We appreciate (former) Senator Enrile’s patriotic duty to suggest how to protect what is legally ours but developing a nuclear weapon is not the way to proceed,” he said.

Enrile, also a former defense minister, said in a statement last week that the ruling of the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016, which was favorable to the Philippines, could only be implemented “by force.”

The way of the world

“Those things can be enforced only by force … In the game of nations, it is always the law of force,” Enrile said.

Even then, he relented that “we must negotiate with China as we cannot go to war,” adding, “if we want to match China, develop nuclear weapons like North Korea. That is the reality among nations. That’s why we have to build our economy and build our military capabilities, so that we will not be bullied.”

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TAGS: Delfin Lorenzana, Juan Ponce Enrile, maritime dispute, nuclear arms, West Philippine Sea
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