Home > Asia Pacific, World News > Philippines sends navy ship to disputed waters

Philippines sends navy ship to disputed waters

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines said Friday it would send its
ageing navy flagship into disputed South China Sea waters amid rising
tensions with Beijing over their competing claims.
However defence department spokesman Eduardo Batac insisted the
deployment was a routine assignment and had nothing to do with an
announcement by China on Thursday that one of its maritime patrol
vessels would pass through the area.
“I don’t think these are connected,” Batac told reporters.
“The navy conducts regular offshore patrols and we should not connect
the deployment of Rajah Humabon to the deployment of this maritime
vessel of China.”
Batac said he was unaware if the Chinese vessel had reached waters claimed by both countries.
He also did not say when the Philippine vessel would be dispatched or exactly where it would go.
The Rajah Humabon, a former US Navy frigate that served during World
War II, is one of the world’s oldest warships. It began service in the
cash-strapped Philippine Navy in 1980.
Meanwhile, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario
met with envoys of ASEAN member nations on Friday, calling on them to
“take a common position” on the matter.
In the meeting with ambassadors of the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations, del Rosario said there should be “common approaches in
addressing worrisome developments” in the South China Sea.
The Philippines has competing claims with China, Taiwan, Vietnam,
Malaysia and Brunei over potentially resource-rich areas in the South
China Sea.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam are also members of
ASEAN along with Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and
Thailand.
Tensions in the long-running dispute over the area have flared in
recent months amid allegations by the Philippines and Vietnam that China
has become increasingly aggressive in staking its territorial claims.
The Philippines accused China this month of sending naval vessels to
intimidate rival claimants around the Spratly Islands in the South China
Sea.
The Philippines also accused China of installing posts and a buoy in
nearby areas, opening fire on Filipino fishermen and intimidating a
Philippine oil exploration ship with a patrol vessel.
China has maintained throughout the flare-up that its has sole
sovereignty over the waters, but that it intends to resolve the dispute
peacefully.
Nevertheless, Chinese state media reported on Friday that China had
recently staged three days of military exercises in the South China Sea
and plans to boost its offshore maritime patrol force.
Del Rosario said the recent incidents showed the need for
“collaboration and solidarity (on)… a recurring and an exacerbating
problem.”
Reuters
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Categories: Asia Pacific, World News
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