From the Choson Ilbo (Oct 22): China Asked Korea Not to Sell Jets to Philippines
China asked Korea not to sell FA-50 fighter jets to the Philippines, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Saturday. The daily said Beijing made the request ahead of a summit in Seoul between President Park Geun-hye and Philippines President Benigno Aquino on Oct. 17.
Korea declined, saying it cannot accept "interference" in arms exports, an issue of its national interest, according to the daily.
The government has officially denied the Yomiuri report, but officials privately admit it.
"Every time the Korean or Filipino media reported on the FA-50 sale, China reacted sensitively trying to confirm the reports through diplomatic channels," a government source said.
But the official added the sale will go ahead.
The Spratly Islands consist of around 30,000 tiny islands and reefs occupied by China, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
China has dispatched Navy ships to the South China Sea to bolster its presence there. The Philippines increased troop presence on the islands late last year and established a separate military command to handle their defense. Manila also recently decided to move some of its naval and air force bases near the South China Sea.
There is speculation that the Philippines is acquiring the FA-50 jets to defend the Spratly Islands.
The FA-50 is a light attack fighter jet based on the T-50 trainer jet. It can handle air-to-air and air-to-ground operations as well as taking on gunboats.
The Philippines is also in talks with Korea to spend US$650 million to purchase Korean-made frigates.
China is also engaged in territorial disputes in the South China Sea with Indonesia and Vietnam, which have either bought or are about to buy Korean weapons.
Indonesia signed deals in 2011 to buy 16 T-50 trainers for $400 million as well as three 1,200-ton submarines.
Vietnam held its first military talks with Korea last year to expand cooperation in the field.
In their meeting, Park thanked Aquino for Manila’s decision to buy the FA-50 jets and urged a speedy signing of the contract.
A government official here said, "The Philippines is engaged in a territorial dispute with China over the Spratly Islands, and that appears to be why Beijing protested several times through the Chinese Embassy and other channels."
Comprising the BDA team are Julhaina E. Cadon, Coordinator of the BDA-International Labor Organization (ILO) Local Economic Development through Enhanced Governance and Grassroots Empowerment (PLEDGE), Norhaini Manongkarang, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer from CMO, Nor-ayn Makakena, Faidz L. Edzla, and Imran M. Malomalo.
Two BDA Regional Managers namely Hashim B. Manticayan from Central Mindanao and Mohalikin D. Piang from Southern Mindanao were part of the delegation.
The activity manifests the commitment of Malaysia to help in the peace and development of Mindanao through the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Program.
Malaysia, which has the crucial role in facilitating the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front, looks forward that the training will further equip the participants in their quest to help develop the Moro communities in Southern Philippines.
Piang said they will share the knowledge they will acquire from the training to fellow BDA staff in line with the agency’s mission to lead in the rehabilitation and development of conflict affected areas in Mindanao.
BDA envisages an enlightened, progressive self-sustaining, and healthy Bangsamoro Community living in harmony, dignity, justice, security and peace.
The agency was created in 2001 as agreed upon by the GPH-MILF Peace Panels to establish a body that will help in the rehabilitation and development of conflict affected areas in Southern Philippines.
BDA is supported by foreign development institutions such as the World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, European Union, and various agencies under the United Nations.
Among the important role of the BDA is to craft a comprehensive development plan for the Bangsamoro people in preparation to the much awaited new Bangsamoro Political Entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in 2016.