Procurement: China Puts A Price On Charity


December 18, 2010: For the last five years, China has been making donations of equipment to the Philippines military. As one of the most underfunded armed forces in the region, the Philippines has been happy to accept the help. Past donations have largely consisted of engineering and transportation items. But now China has agreed to provide technical and advisory help to improve Filipino military logistics capabilities.

All this combat support aid is very useful to the Philippines, which has long been fighting communist (the NPA) and religious MILF and Abu Sayaff) rebels. Much of the combat takes place in rural areas, where more roads makes a big difference.

China has also offered to sell the Philippines weapons at low prices. But the United States, which has donated half a billion dollars worth of military gear in the past decade, supplies most of the weapons needs. The U.S. is also uneasy about growing Chinese efforts to be friendly with the Philippines. Part of this is seen as self-serving, as China and the Philippines have a long-term dispute over who owns some small islands in the waters near both countries. But America also fears that China is trying to weaken the long-standing links between the United States and the Philippines.

It was thought that these donations were the reason why the Philippines was one of the few nations China was able to persuade to not attend the recent Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies (where an imprisoned, in China, Chinese reformer got the prize.) But the main reason appears to be an attempt to persuade China not to execute Filipinos convicted of crimes in China.



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