Why is China donating weapons to the Philippines despite differences over the South China Sea? China has donated 4 boats, 30 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other small arms and ammunition to the Philippines. The friendship between the two nations under President Rodrigo Duterte seems to be blossoming despite the South China Sea dispute between China and the Philippines.
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As reported by the South China Morning Post, China donated about 6000 assault rifles and hundreds of sniper guns to the Philippines. This donation of 12-metre boats, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other small arms and ammunition to the Philippines can be seen as a follow up to last year’s donations.
The Chinese rifles donated last year were inducted with the Philippine National Police hence making up for a shortfall. The shortfall arose after the US quashed the sale of about 26,000 M4 rifles to the Philippines.
The US had blocked the sale of weapons to the Philippines after reports of large-scale human rights violations by the Police. These human rights violations came under a fierce anti-drugs campaign by the Duterte government in which thousands of Filipinos have been killed. Seeing this ruckus and brutal violence inflicted by the Philippine National Police, the US decided not to give any weapons to the Philippines.
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Since then the President of the Philippines has held grudges against the US and is looking to bolster trade and political ties with Beijing. China too has shown positivity in coming closer to the Philippines despite a history of longstanding territorial disputes between the two nations. There has been a new wave in Beijing’s diplomacy towards the Philippines amid the rift between the US and the Philippines.
The US and the Philippines have had a long history of defence pacts and joint military exercises. But under President Duterte Philippines has been now threatening the US to suspend ties and also abrogate all the bilateral defence pacts.