Manila Shops for U.S. Arms, as Tensions with China Rise

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amid renewed tensions with China over claims to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, the Philippines is shopping for excess defense equipment from the United States, under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.

Jose L. Cuisia Jr., the Philippine ambassador to the United States, asked the Department of National Defense and Armed Forces for a wish list of military equipment to shore up the country’s defense capability. Cuisia, however, was careful not to explicitly link the purchase of U.S. arms to China’s alleged increased intrusions into the areas of the disputed Spratlys group claimed by the Philippines.

It is part of Cuisia’s job to negotiate with U.S. officials contracts for the purchase of U.S. military hardware. The FMS program is a standardized method for the sale by the U.S. of defense equipment, services and training to foreign countries and governments. He said the Philippine Navy has already asked for a Hamilton class cutter. (The cutters are called “Hamilton class” after their lead ship, the Hamilton, named after Alexander Hamilton, the first US Secretary of the Treasury.)