The Philippines may invest in its first-ever submarine fleet to help protect its territory in the disputed South China Sea, President Benigno Aquino said Wednesday.
The nation, which has never before operated submarines and until now relied largely on US surplus ships, has been ramping up defense spending in response to China’s military expansion in the region.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea despite conflicting claims from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.
Aquino said the Philippines could lose control of its entire west coast should China succeed in enforcing its claims.
“We’ve had to accelerate the modernization of our armed forces for self-defense needs,” he told reporters.
“We are a natural transit point into the Pacific and we are now studying whether or not we do need a submarine force,” he said. Read More