The Pentagon’s top military official on Tuesday said the United States should withdraw its proposed $1.6 billion $2.1 billion Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system from the Philippines, saying the country has a history of developing the weapon.
Mattis made the comments in a speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, where he outlined a plan to spend $1 billion to purchase two new Aegis warships to deploy in the region.
The ships would be capable of launching missiles at cruise missiles or intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and the submarines would be able to launch ballistic missiles.
The missiles could be used to target the United Kingdom or other nations with nuclear weapons, the defense official said.
Mattis also said the plan would make the U.K. more secure, but did not provide details.
“This system is a threat to the United Nations and the world.
It will be an unacceptable weapon for the United Sates and its allies,” Mattis said.
“The U.N. has declared the Philippines as a non-member state, which makes it a state that is not under international control, so it has the right to refuse the delivery of the weapons.”
The Defense Department has already said it plans to buy two Aegis-equipped submarines, which it says will be able defend against cruise missiles.
But it is unclear how many of the two submarines will be ready to deploy at once.
“The Aegis system has been a great asset for the Department of Defense.
We believe it will be a great tool for our military to be able respond to any crisis,” Mattis added.
The Defense Secretary’s speech came a day after the White House threatened to cut off funds to the Philippines for failing to comply with the Paris Climate Accord.
The United States has pledged $1 trillion to the Paris climate deal, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit).
The accord was ratified by the United Nation in December, but has not yet been signed into law.