Defense chief objects to reported Chinese nuclearism in S. China Sea

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Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 28) — The Philippine government expressed disapproval over China's reported plan to add "nuclear elements" in the  South China Sea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday.

"Wala naman tayong masamang balak sa kanila. Wala naman tayong balak na atakihin yung mga reclaimed areas nila. Kaya nga pinag-uusapan natin, we are talking about our disputes in a civil matter, and there is no need for them to militarize to that level, na magdadala sila ng nuclear armed aircraft, or any other weaponry there that are nuclear-tipped," Lorenzana told reporters.

[Translation: We have no evil plans towards them, no plans to attack areas they have reclaimed. That's why we are talking with them about it, we are talking about our disputes in a civil matter, and there is no need for them to militarize to that level, to the point where nuclear-armed aircraft are involved, or any other weaponry there that are nuclear-tipped.]

The Philippines is one of the four Southeast Asian countries with rival maritime claims against China over islands in the contested waters.

Lorenzana's statement comes after U.S. Defense Department annual report said Beijing may bring in floating nuclear stations to power its military outposts in their reclaimed areas, such as the Spratlys. The report added China may deploy a nuclear "triad" of delivery systems — such as nuclear-capable bombers which can strike U.S. and allied forces in the West Pacific.

READ: Palace concerned with China's nuclear program in South China Sea

China opposed the report, calling the Pentagon's claims "irresponsible."