Manila keeps eye on Beijing in South China Sea

Manila keeps eye on Beijing in South China Sea

The Philippines is keeping vigilant in light of China’s “clear intent” to beef up its military presence in the South China Sea, particularly in a shoal located inside the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone, according to classified Philippine government papers seen by Kyodo News.

“China has maintained a constant presence of at least two or three marine surveillance ships and a frigate in the vicinity of the shoal conducting surveillance patrol and illegal fishing,” the document said.

Pictures show Chinese navy ships operating in the area as well as fishing vessels loaded with giant clams and corals harvested from the shoal.

“All these activities are being done under the watchful eyes of Chinese government vessels,” the document said.

Since February, the Philippine military has noted an increase in sightings of Chinese maritime law enforcement vessels and Chinese navy ships in the vicinity of Second Thomas Shoal, about 105 nautical miles off the coast of the Philippines’ westernmost island province of Palawan.

The Philippine military says Chinese navy and government vessels have operated in the disputed area on 24 occasions from 2010 to 2012, nearly a threefold increase from 1995-2009.

Philippine security officials have vowed to protect the shoal at any cost.

China’s aggressive presence in the area, the Philippine government paper said, has prompted Manila to draw up a “contingency plan” for fear that China might resort to a blockade or even seizure of the shoal by force.

The contingency plan includes an “urgent upgrading” of the military’s equipment, naval and air assets that will boost the military’s capability in that part of the disputed sea.

“We do not want a repeat of Scarborough Shoal,” the document said, referring to China’s occupation last year of the shoal, a large coral reef located 124 nautical miles off the coast of Luzon Island, the main island of the Philippines.

China, Taiwan and the Philippines claim ownership of the Scarborough Shoal, north of the disputed Spratly Islands.

The submerged Second Thomas Shoal is part of a group of islands, rocks, reefs and cays known together as the Spratly Islands, which are claimed in part or in whole by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei.

Four claimant countries — China, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam — have stationed troops in the islands they control.

The Philippines has garrisoned troops on nine pieces of disputed territory, including Second Thomas Shoal.

“The persistent sightings of maritime law enforcement vessels in the shoal have been continuing in the past weeks,” the Philippine government document said.

Beijing has demanded that Manila remove a rusty, World War II-vintage landing ship it grounded on the shoal in 1999 that serves as an outpost for Philippine troops.

Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, commander of the Philippines’ Western Command, said that while China has not shown signs that it will take over the shoal, the Philippine military is on the alert and closely monitoring the situation.

“Rest assured that we will not leave Ayungin,” he said, referring to the local name of Second Thomas Shoal. “We will maintain our detachments and outposts.”

Source: MANILA – The Japan Times News - 14 July 2013

Photo: The Philippines Air Force OV-10 Bronco (Photo by Rogier Westerhuis – Aero Image / paf.mil.ph)



American Air Force News
African Air Force News
Asian Air Force News
European Air Force News
Middle Eastern AF News
Ocean Air Force News

• Australian Nuclear-powered submarines welcomed

Former Royal Navy (RN) nuclear submarine executive officer, Captain Henry Finnis (retd), sees the benefits of Australia acquiring the vessels as he reflects on his career as a subm...>>

• Royal Australian Maritime Air Power on Show

Maritime air power was on show in Guam as a RAAF P-8A Poseidon participated in Exercise Sea Dragon alongside Japan, Canada, India and the United States, from January 13 to 27....>>

• The Philippine Air Force delivers election paraphernalia in remote barangays in Tapaz

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) delivered election paraphernalia and personnel in three far-flung villages of the town of Tapaz in Capiz last week, and remain on standby for other p...>>

• Australia to Purchase Second MQ-4C Triton Aircraft

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) welcomes the announcement last month by the Australian Government to purchase a second MQ-4C Triton aircraft. ...>>

• Second F/A-18C jet from USS Ronald Reagan crashes in less than a month

A warplane from the aircraft career USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea northeast of the Philippines on Monday, but its two aviators were rescued safely....>>

• Air Weapons (Smart Bombs and Missiles): Customized For F-35A

Japan has ordered AGM-158B JASSM ER (extended range of 900 kilometers) gliding smart bombs for its F-15 fighter-bombers....>>

• US B-1 Bombers, F-35 Fighters Fly to Korea in Show of Force

The bombers flew simulated strikes against North Korea's "core facilities", which probably means Kim Jong-un himself....>>


       info@xairforces.net Webmaster: REFLX DESIGN - © 2011 xairforces / Aviation Society,