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Monday, May 27, 2024

US installs MX-6 missile system in PH

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The United States has deployed its Army’s Mid-Range Capability missile system (MRCS) in Northern Luzon as part of Exercise Salaknib 24.

The missile system is capable of reaching more than a 500-kilometer range — a lot more than the estimated 370- kilometer distance between the southern tip of Taiwan and the northernmost tip of the Philippines.

Lin Jian, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said Beijing was gravely concerned about the US Army’s deployment of its mid-range capability missile system to Luzon.

“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,” Lin said.

The MRCS missile system is designed to provide US forces the ability to launch Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) and the Standard Missile 6.

Balikatan spokesperson Col. Mike Logico, however, assured the public that the weapons system will not be fired during the exercises.

“We are testing the feasibility of bringing this weapon system by air and offloading it into a secure and established place,” Logico explained.

“The purpose of an armed forces – why we exist – is really to prepare for war. There’s no sugarcoating it. That’s absolutely true. With or without China, let’s say for example in a parallel universe China did not exist, we would still be doing these exercises.”

Maritime expert Jay Batongbacal said that any show of capability to respond to threats serves as a deterrence to anyone attempting to destabilize the region, thus it is crucial that the country prepares for it.

China had repeatedly lambasted the US for its actions in the region, including its strengthening of defense partnership with the Philippines, Japan, and other allied countries, saying Washington is making its partners as pawns.

“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,” Lin said.

The Chinese official also called on the Philippines to “be mindful of what the US is truly after and the consequence of going along with the US on deploying” its missile system.

“The Philippines needs to think twice about being a cat’s paw for the US at the expense of its own security interests, and stop sliding down the wrong path,” he said.

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