The United States seem bent on further exacerbating what is already a tense situation in its relationship with China when it sent into the northern part of the Philippines for the first time a land attack missile system as part of the Salaknib exercise 24 taking place in that part of the country in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines
(AFP). The mid-range capability missile system or MRC/typhon is claimed to possess versatile capability by being able to fire standard missile 6 and tomahawk land attack missiles.

The MRC comprises a battery operations center, four launchers, prime movers and modified trailers. Salaknib
Exercise 24 for which the MRC is being included is a joint effort by the US Army and the Philippine Army to bolster
relations and augment commitments towards regional security and stability in the region. It is a bilateral exercise
aimed at enhancing military interoperability between the two nations. What is doubly significant in this bilateral
military exercise is the inclusion of a Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC) which is basically the USS Army’s first regional combat training center in the IndoPacific region.

The integration of the JPMRC with the AFP is claimed to fortify the mutual defense capabilities of both militaries here in the country but more than that, and the most important aspect of the whole defense program is the deployment, on a more or less permanent basis, of US military forces and equipment at the northern portion of the
country. Of course, we all know that in all likelihood what the US of A is actually doing is prepositioning its military
forces near Taiwan to not only deter, or serve as a warning against China not to invade Taiwan, but also to increase its capability of striking back in the event that China actually does the unthinkable.

So, China in its latest pronouncement has expressed grave concern about the presence of the said missile system in the country. In a remark made by Chinese Ministry Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Lin Jian when ask for China’s comment about the said MRC or also known as Typhon he said, “China noted the announcement and expresses grave concern over the move. China strongly opposes the US deploying medium-range ballistic missiles in the Asia-Pacific and strengthening forward deployment at China’s doorstep to seek unilateral military advantage.

The US’s move exacerbates tensions in the region and increases the risk of misjudgment and miscalculation. We urge the US to earnestly respect other countries’ security concerns, stop stoking military confrontation, stop undermining peace and stability in the region, and take concrete actions to reduce strategic risks”. China also warned the
Philippines to be mindful of the real intention of the US in putting medium range ballistic missiles in the country. To have a better perspective of the “grave concern” of China over the MRC the internet tells us that the medium range missile system is capable of launching land-based tomahawk attack missiles which are sub-sonic, intermediate range cruise missiles having a length of more than six meters and a range of between 1,250 to 2,500 kilometers.

These tomahawk missiles if ever they will be used to defend Taiwan against China would be very effective since the distance between Taiwan and the Philippines is only about 1,200 kilometers which is well within the range of these
missiles. At the moment the real concern that should bother the country is the continuing steps being taken by the US in not only committing itself to fully advancing the bilateral or even multilateral defense relations it has established with not only the Philippines but with other countries as well but in actually bring into the country
armaments and munitions, such as medium range missiles, which is already perceived by China as an act of further ratcheting tensions in this part of the world.

If at all the US should do well to be careful in allowing too much of its military strength and influence to pervade parts of South East Asia since this might compel China to take precipitate measures to defend its perceived hegemony particularly with respect to Taiwan and even the West Philippine Sea and might possibly engage in pre-emptive action to protect its interests in the region. If that happens and we pray that it will not, then the Philippines will be an actual participant to another conflagration whether wittingly or unwittingly. This is the danger of rocking the boat too much.

Amianan Balita Ngayon