17 May 2012
US submarine “port call” to worsen row with China
“It’s like pouring gasoline on fire.”
This was labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s (KMU) reaction to the docking of a nuclear-powered US submarine in Subic Bay in Zambales since last Sunday, saying heightened US military presence in the country will worsen the country’s dispute with China.
KMU lambasted the statement made by Defense department spokesperson Paul Galvez, that USS North Carolina’s “regular port call” is not related to the territorial row between the Philippines and China.
“Whether the government acknowledges it or not, greater US military presence will worsen the country’s dispute with China. Both the US and China know that the US’s main target in its drive to expand military presence in Asia-Pacific is none other than China,” Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general, said.
“The Aquino government is attempting to fool the people by trying to play naïve towards the tensions that serve as context to the submarine’s port call. It wants to appear innocent even as it is provoking more aggressive moves by China,” he added.
“By refusing to heed calls for the review and scrapping of the Visiting Forces Agreement and Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, the Aquino government is paving the way to greater US military presence in the country and greater tensions with China,” he said.
KMU blamed the Aquino government’s puppetry to the US for the submarine’s port call and heightened tensions with China.
“The original sin is the Aquino government’s refusal to uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity when it comes to US military presence. Whatever is the international context, any self-respecting government will refuse moves by the US to trample on its country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Soluta said.
“The Aquino government refuses to recognize that there is heightened US presence in the country precisely because there are existing tensions in the region, and greater US military presence in the country is heightening those tensions,” he added.
KMUsaid that USS North Carolina’s port call violates the 1987 Constitution’s ban on nuclear weapons. “Pres. Aquino is showing no respect for the Constitution crafted under his mother’s term. He is turning a blind eye to possible violations of the ‘No Nukes’ provision of the Constitution,” Soluta said.
“By keeping mum on the possibility that USS North Carolina contains nuclear weapons, the Aquino government is showing how hypocritical it was in raising furor over North Korea’s launching of a satellite which did not contain nuclear weapons,” he concluded.