MANILA - The United States is not building a weapons depot in the Philippines, contradicting President Rodrigo Duterte's claim that the superpower is risking regional stability by building permanent arms depots here.
US Ambassador to Manila, Sung Kim said the President may have been fed the wrong information leading him to make the statement.
"I think some misinformation was given to the President and that's why he gave that statement expressing concerns about a possible weapons depot," he said.
"The fact is we are not building a weapons depot anywhere in the Philippines," he added.
Kim said there is "nothing that's being planned that even closely resembles the concerns about weapons depot," and that upcoming projects are mostly disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.
Kim recognized that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) provide for the US to build facilities and structures in five Filipino bases, emphasizing that the bases are not US bases.
"One of the first principles you learn in law school is that possession is already 9/10 of the law. So it's hard to imagine that we (US) would be able to do anything on Filipino bases that are not acceptable to the Filipino people or Filipino leadership," he said.
"I think there's already a very strong protection for Filipino interest in the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. In fact it was a very carefully negotiated document, agreement," he added
- ANC, 31 January 2017