Philippines government is looking into forming a submarine force to strengthen maritime defense amid China's expansive claims over the South China Sea.
President Benigno Aquino III said his country will invest in its first-ever submarine fleet to help protect its territory.
"Philippines is practically losing its west coast due to China's nine-dash line claim. We might have to undergo various aspects of our own military capabilities that have never been part of our needs," Aquino said.
He was explaining how Philippine policies have been affected by China’s massive reclamation and military build-up in the West Philippine Sea under its 9-dash-line principle.
“We’ve had to accelerate the modernization of our armed forces for self-defense needs,” President said.
He said that Philippines is a natural transit point into the Pacific and a study if the country needs a submarine force is currently being done.
Last year it was reported the Philippines would buy electric and diesel-run submarines as well as an advanced missile system as part of the modernization of the armed forces.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea despite conflicting claims from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei Darussalam.