Philippines West Philippine Sea|News & Discussions

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LOOK: PH Navy sends Christmas cheer to West Philippine Sea islands​

By: Frances Mangosing - Reporter / @FMangosingINQ
INQUIRER.net / 04:31 PM December 26, 2021
The Philippine Navy drops supplies into remote Philippine-held islands in the West Philippine Sea on Christmas Day
The Philippine Navy drops supplies into remote Philippine-held islands in the West Philippine Sea on Christmas Day. WESCOM

MANILA, Philippines — Naval aviators air-dropped much needed supplies to remote Philippine-held islands in the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) in the West Philippine Sea on Christmas Day.

Naval helicopter AgustaWestland 109 (AW109) onboard the Philippine Navy frigate BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) delivered the relief packs from Palawan Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office for the residents of Pag-asa (Thitu) Island, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.


The strategically important Pag-asa Island, the only Philippine-occupied feature in KIG with civilian inhabitants, suffered significant damage from Typhoon Odette (Rai).

The same naval assets also air-dropped noche buena packages, including holiday staple lechon, to the troops deployed in KIG, the AFP said.

The BRP Mangyan (AC-71) ferried Christmas packages to the troops in Rizal (Commodore) Reef detachment.

The Philippines occupies nine military detachments around the KIG, including Pag-asa, as well as BRP Sierra Madre, a rusty World War-2 landing ship tank intentionally run aground in Ayungin Shoal.

 

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Philippines summons Chinese envoy over sea confrontations​

MANILA​

Philippines summons Chinese envoy over sea confrontations

The Philippines has summoned China's envoy, the foreign ministry said Monday, following the most tense confrontations between the countries' vessels in years at flashpoint reefs in the disputed South China Sea.


Videos released by the Philippine Coast Guard showed Chinese ships blasting water cannon at Philippine boats during two separate resupply missions to Scarborough Shoal and Second Thomas Shoal on Saturday and Sunday.

There was also a collision between Philippine and Chinese boats at Second Thomas Shoal, with both countries trading blame for the incident.

Diplomatic protests had been filed and "the Chinese ambassador has also been summoned", foreign ministry spokeswoman Teresita Daza told a news conference on Monday.

Daza said declaring China's ambassador Huang Xilian as "persona non grata" in the Philippines was also "something that has to be seriously considered".

China's ramming and water cannoning of Filipino boats was a "serious escalation" of their tactics, Jonathan Malaya, assistant director general of the National Security Council, told reporters.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, including waters and islands near the shores of its neighbours, and has ignored an international tribunal ruling that its assertions have no legal basis.

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It deploys boats to patrol the busy waterway and has built artificial islands that it has militarised to reinforce its claims.

On Sunday, the US State Department called on China to halt its "dangerous and destabilizing" actions in the sea, while foreign diplomats in Manila also criticised China's behaviour.

The confrontations at Scarborough Shoal and Second Thomas Shoal were the most intense between Philippine and Chinese vessels in years, analysts said, as the countries seek to assert their competing maritime territorial claims.

"I expect that this will become even more frequent and persistent," said Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines' Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea.

"We should use the opportunity to build up our alliances and partnerships, and to prepare for the worst as it is clear that they will continue to deprive us of access to our rights and resources as a country."

China seized Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines in 2012 following a tense standoff, while Manila grounded a World War II-vintage navy ship on Second Thomas Shoal in 1999 to check China's advance in the waters.

Relations between Manila and Beijing have deteriorated under President Ferdinand Marcos, who has sought to improve ties with traditional ally Washington and push back against Chinese actions in the South China Sea.

In a statement late Sunday, Marcos said the Philippines remained "undeterred" following the latest incidents.

"No one but the Philippines has a legitimate right or legal basis to operate anywhere in the West Philippine Sea," Marcos said, using Manila's term for the South China Sea waters to the immediate west of the Philippines.

 

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Interesting view from ret. Adm. Cem Gürdeniz on the future role of Philippines. Where AFP is expected to provoke China and divert its attention from Taiwan.

Translation
ORIGINAL FACADE FOR THE USA WEST PACIFIC

While the USA experienced a serious decline in the terrestrial front against Russia in the Ukrainian War, it fell into a geopolitical trap that Israel never wanted with the order due to the Gaza War. The US, which has no choice but to drag Israel's pressures and new orders on the intervention against Iran in the election year, almost to apologise to Iran in the recent Iraq and Syria attacks, continues to be the Pacific Front, despite all the developments in the west of Eurasia. While the USA is preparing for a very difficult conflict period against China to get results in the 34 trillion dollar debt stock, it encounters serious challenges in itself. Stopping China's rise in industry and trade with its departure from the continent to the sea continues to be the biggest target of the hegemony of the last 79 years. However, on the Pacific front and against China, the USA's job is very difficult compared to the European and Middle East fronts. This region is a big sea front. The distances are too far. The majority of US allies are island or archipelago states such as Japan, Australia, Philippines. In other words, they need support from the sea. Sea routes must be kept open for both energy and food imports and military equipment and ammunition. For this, the navies of the US and Indo/Pacific allies need to be kept very strong against the Russian, China and North Korean navies in quality and quantity. However, the situation is not encouraging for today. The balance of force is incomparably against the US and its allies to 80 years ago. The US, for example, had 6000 warships and auxiliary ships at the end of World War II, where it completely put the Pacific Ocean under its sovereignty and cleared from the Japanese. Today this number is 290. It is very difficult to reach the speed of its rival China to build warships and merchant ships. In the words of the American Secretary of the Navy, the USA can only make the number of ships built by China in a year in 7 years.

THE US IS LOOKING FOR CHEAP BLOOD

On the other hand, the USA could sacrifice thousands of young people in battlefields for the sake of their geopolitical interests in the Second World War and did not give an account to the public. Today, it is very difficult to find soldiers to die for imperialist ambitions in the USA and to digest these deaths to the public. That's why the USA today uses legionnaire mercenary companies for military operations in every crisis area. On the other hand, they are looking for the cheap blood of other states that will be poured in their name in every crisis and war. In 2022, Ukraine provided this opportunity. While making NATO and the EU fully dependent on the European front, they caused Russia to lose blood at the expense of the deaths of 100 thousands of Ukrainian young people, even though they could not get a strategic result. Now the search for a new Ukraine on the Indian/Pacific front continues. We can say that it would be very difficult for Taiwan to be Ukraine. Because while the average development and income levels are incomparably higher than Ukraine, they are aware that they are an island state and cannot withstand a Chinese blockade for a long time, but most importantly, their racists with the same blood will not kill each other for Anglo-Saxon imperialism. Most importantly, they see what is happening in Ukraine, despite bordering a continental state and two loyal US allies such as Poland and Romania. On the other hand, they remember the blockade of the Chinese Navy and the violation of the ADIZ field with hundreds of aircraft by the Air Force during the visit of US Congressional President Ms. Pelosi to Taiwan in the summer of 2022. Shortly after the Taiwan Elections held last month, US President Biden's statement that we do not support Taiwan's independence movements reveals the synthesis created by this situation.

BIGGEST CHEAP BLOOD CANDIDATE, PHILIPPINES

On the other hand, especially in parallel with the developments in the last 6 months, the country where the USA has given clues that it can design to use it with cheap blood in the region is the Philippines. This state, especially thanks to Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who came to power after the 2022 elections, has completely entered the US route, unlike the previous President Duterte, allows this evaluation. The Philippines, which has a population of 100 million, consisting of 7641 islands, is named after the Spanish King Philip. The Spanish Navy, which occupied the archipelago where Manila was located in 1543, gave the name of its kings. The USA took and colonised the Philippines from the Spairds with Admiral Dewey's fleet in 1898. The Philippines, which struggled to fight for independence between 1899 and 1901, lost 1.5 million people and surrendered in the face of the US invading firepower. Thus, the USA established its largest forward stronghold in the Pacific. The country, which was occupied by Japan in World War II, could not protect the famous US General Mac Arthur and withdrew, saying, "I Shall Return." 57 thousand soldiers and nearly 1 million Filipinos died in the Japanese invasion. At the end of the war, the American Navy cleared the entire Pacific from the Japanese, and Mac Arthur returned to the island on October 20, 1944. In 1946, he recognised the independence of this country. Since then, the Philippines has been the most important ally and forward base of the US in the Western Pacific. The Philippines has been an important actor in the Pacific Ocean Edge Belt geopolitics in the Soviet siege in the Cold War. Today, after Australia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea, they are the most important ally of the USA in the region. The Bilateral Defence Agreement (MDA), signed in 1951, gave the USA the opportunity to base in the Philippines. The Philippines, which participated in the Korean War with combat troops next to the USA, also participated in the Vietnam War with support units. In the Cold War, the large-scale Subic Bay, (Sea) and Clark, (Air) Bases were extensively used in a location that would besiege China and Vietnam on the Shanghai-Taiwan axis and control the South China Sea. Under the Bilateral Defence Agreement (MDA), many advanced bases and facilities were given to the U.S. order, except for the two major main bases. The USA, which closed both bases when the Cold War ended, returned to these bases when the period of competition of the great powers began. In 2014, an EDCA-Advanced Defence Cooperation Agreement was signed between the two countries. The way for the pre-deployment of jet fuel and ammo was opened at 5 Philippine bases designated under EDCA. Let's add an important development this week. For the first time in its history, the Philippines decided to supply submarines. As a result of the US guidance, they started the tender process to establish a submarine fleet.

SEA LIMITATION AND SOVEREIGNTY PROBLEMS

Today, the most important means of provoking the Philippines against China is focussing on maritime demartation and sovereignty issues. In the South China Sea, China has a problem with maritime jurisdictions. Apart from the Exclusive Economic Zone declared by both countries, there are disputed Spratly Islands, Mischief Cliffs and Scarborough Shallower problems with Kardak-like sovereignty. At the beginning of 1996, both navies entered a short-term conflict for the Spratly Islands and the Mischief Cliffs. In 1999, the Philippines was bought with the help of the American Tank Landing Ship Sierra Madre near Nansha Island (2. Thomas Shallow) claimed the rights in the region by landing the Renai Reef, Ayungin. Since then, the tension between the two countries has continued through the ship in question. Filipino personnel remain on board and continue to practice state in shallowness.

ARBITRATION COURT DECISION AGAINST CHINA

Also in the Spratly region, there was a new crisis in the spring of 2012 due to Chinese fishermen. The Philippines unilaterally filed a lawsuit against China at the International Permanent Court (PCA) on January 22, 2013 and won the case in 2016. On paper, the court did not recognise China's 9-point maritime authority border. However, the Philippines did not get any results because the court did not have the power to sanction. On October 26, 2015, this time the U.S. crossed a destroyer from this critical region using the right to freedom of navigation (FON) and was violently protested by China. While the US repeated this move in 2018, the Chinese Warship almost entered the flashcourse with the American destroyer and the accident was prevented at the last moment. Upon this incident, US President Trump said, "XI Jingpin is no longer my friend."

ECONOMIC CHANGE IN THE PHILIPPINES

In 2020, tensions against China in the region increased a lot for both Vietnam and the Philippines.In 2021, 200 Chinese fishing boats showed sovereignty within the Philippines' MEB. On the other hand, the USA used these moves of China to develop strategic partnership relations with the Philippines. As a matter of fact, on February 4, 2023, the new President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., approved the expansion of American bases in the country and the double in number and 9. There are currently 8 Naval squares and facilities belonging to the US, and 18 Air Force and Land Aviation use, as a large and small base and auxiliary facility.

STATE Practises OF THE PHILIPPINES

In August 2023, there were pressuring water squeezes between Chinese Coast Guard ships in disputed areas and the elements that supported the Sierra Madre ship in particular. Until that day, China allowed food and health support from the sea to the inhabitants of this ship. However, the situation toughened when the Philippines side tried to send technical support and supplies to the ship, which is being scrapped this time. China did not allow this and demanded that the ship be removed. The Philippines gave a rejection to China. As these events continue, on December 4, 2023, the American Warship USS Gabrielle Giffords illegally entered the waters near the Ren'ai Reef, where the Sierra Madre is located. According to the Philippines, these waters were theirs. But for China, it was its own territory of sovereignty, and this created a very serious crisis not only with the US but also with the Philippines. In the same time period, the U.S. made a statement that it confirmed once again that an armed attack on Philippine public ships, planes and armed forces, including Coast Guard forces in the South China Sea, would activate the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defence Agreement.

INCREASED TANSION IN THE NEW YEAR

As we approach 2024, numerous frictions with Chinese Coast Guard ships and Philippine ships in the Ren'ai Reef zone…
 

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China says Philippines ignored South China Sea deal as tensions rise​

3 hours ago
By Joel Guinto,BBC News

1710323670476.png

Tensions in the shoals have escalated in recent months, with Chinese and Philippine vessels colliding
China says the Philippines ignored proposals it put forward to "manage" their dispute in the South China Sea.

An unnamed senior Chinese official told news outlet the Manila Times that the deal was "met with inaction by the Marcos administration".

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said they did not reject the deal, but said it stood on a "questionable" premise.

The South China Sea is at the centre of a territorial dispute between China, the Philippines and other countries.

But tensions between Manila and Beijing have sharply escalated in recent months. At the heart of it is a decaying ship on Second Thomas Shoal that the Philippines have purposely marooned to reinforce its claim in the shoal.

Routine missions to bring food and essentials to a handful of Filipino soldiers on the ship named Sierra Madre has resulted in encounters between the Philippine Coast Guard escorts and the China Coast Guard.

The Manila Times, quoting an unnamed senior Chinese official, had reported on Monday that China offered a proposal last April but was "met with inaction by the Marcos administration".

The report said China's proposal included allowing Filipino resupply missions to the Second Thomas Shoal, as long as it involves just one ship and that it does not deliver large-scale building materials.

This was based on an "understanding" between China and Mr Marcos' predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, claimed the report.


On Tuesday, the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) responded to the report, denying the allegations. They said that while some of China's proposals were "workable", others were "contrary to our national interests".

China had responded to the Philippines' counter-proposals with another set of counter-offers, the DFA added.

Mr Marcos later clarified that China's proposals stood on a "questionable premise", referencing China's so called 10-dash line map.

"We have not rejected any proposals that China has made to us but the premise is something that we questioned... that premise that China has made is that their territory follows what is now described as a 10 dash line," he said in Germany, where he is on an official visit.

He added that China's claims in the South China Sea were "not recognised by any country... certainly not by the Philippines".


China claims by far the largest portion of territory in an area demarcated by the "10-dash line". The line comprises ten dashes which extends hundreds of miles south and east from its most southerly province of Hainan.

Mr Marcos assumed the presidency in June 2022 and pivoted the Philippines back to its traditional ally, the US, drawing China's ire.

After the first collision between Philippine and Chinese ships last October, US President Joe Biden said Washington would defend Manila if Beijing attacks. The two countries are bound by a mutual defence treaty.

Mr Duterte, on the other hand, had pursued stronger economic and political ties with China. He scaled back military co-operation between the Philippine and US militaries and refused to flout an international arbitration court ruling that rejected China's vast sea claims that also overlap with those of Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei.

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Watch: Chinese boats fire water at a Philippine vessel in the South China Sea

 

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2024 Balikatan joint US-Philippine drills to be bigger than ever​

BenarNews staff
2024.01.30
Manila


2024 Balikatan joint US-Philippine drills to be bigger than ever


A U.S. Marines OV-22 Osprey flies past a bird during Balikatan, a joint military exercise between U.S. and Philippine forces, at a Naval station in Zambales province, northern Philippines, April 26, 2023.
Aaron Favila/AP

This year’s Balikatan joint military exercises with the United States will be bigger than ever before and could include drills staged in areas of the far-northern Philippines close to Taiwan, officials here said Tuesday.

The 2023 edition of Balikatan – Tagalog for “shoulder-to-shoulder” – drew 17,600 troops from the Philippines, the United States, and Australia. The number of participants last year set a record for the annual joint drills, which began in the 1990s.

The 2024 exercises may include Mavulis, an uninhabited island and the northernmost territory in the Philippines, as one of the venues. The island is part of the Batanes archipelago, where drills could also be staged this coming April, Philippine military officials said. The Batanes chain lies only within 150 km (93 miles) of southeast Taiwan’s Orchid Island.

This past weekend, military officials went to Mavulis and other islands in Batanes province to inspect the prospective army sites there.
“We are still at the planning stages at this point,” Col. Fransel Margareth Padilla, the newly installed spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), told BenarNews.

“It’s going to happen in April and it’s going to be … bigger than last time and [involve] more key locations.”

She would not elaborate, but local officials in Batanes said they had been consulted about the plan.

Batanes is a natural demarcation line between the Philippines and Taiwan, and is known more for tourism than as a strategic military location. Last year, part of the exercises were also held there, but because the location is remote, it did not receive too much press coverage.
In recent years, tensions have risen between rival superpowers the United States and China over Taiwan.

China’s communist government, which has never ruled the democratic island, views Taiwan as part of its territory.
Batanes.jpeg

The 39th edition of the annual exercise will feature amphibious operations, live-fire training, urban operations, aviation operations, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, among other drills.

“We are doing things a little differently. Aside from kinetic activities and littoral, airspace and land, we will also be doing exercises in the nonphysical domain such as cyberspace and information warfare,” Padilla told reporters in a separate media forum.

Last year, the Balikatan drills got underway after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sought to allay public fears that a beefed-up American military presence in the Philippines would unnecessarily draw the country into a conflict in case war broke out between China and the U.S. over Taiwan.

On Tuesday, the vice governor of Batanes, Ignacio Villa, told BenarNews that the local government had been consulted.

“We had Balikatan in our province last year and there was no objection,” he said by phone from the island province’s capital, Basco.
Mavulis, meanwhile, is suitable for training too because it is “not populated and only military personnel are staying there,” he said.

Troubled waters
China so far has not made any comments about the planned exercises. Last year, nearly 18,000 troops – 12,000 Americans, 5,000 Filipinos and about 100 Australians participated in Balikatan.

Tensions have also been simmering between China and the Philippines, a longtime U.S. defense ally in Southeast Asia, over the contested South China Sea.

Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad, the Philippine Navy spokesman on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), said Tuesday that a multitude of Chinese navy ships, coast guard ships, and Chinese militia vessels had been spotted in disputed waters.

“At any one time, somewhere from 15 to 25 [Chinese] warships,” Trinidad told a press briefing, referring to the number of Chinese warships in the area. He was citing information said based on the latest intelligence data.

“We have [seen] more maritime militia. As of the last count, I would say around 200. And for the Chinese Coast Guard I think another 10 to 15,” said Trinidad, who is also the deputy commander of the Philippine Fleet – a major command under the Philippine Navy.
Jeoffrey Maitem and Mark Navales contributed reporting from Davao City, southern Philippines.

 

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China sounds alarm after Philippines and US announce ‘mega drills’ involving 16000 soldiers​

China warns of ‘greater insecurity’ to Philippines for holding exercises with external forces​

Shweta Sharma
3 days ago


The Philippines and the US will conduct their first-ever military exercises outside Southeast Asian country’s territorial waters in the South China Sea, sparking condemnation from China.

The joint military drill, involving 16,700 American and Filipino soldiers, will stimulate exercises of sinking a target ship, retaking an island and sailing in waters that have remained a flashpoint between China and countries like the Philippines and Taiwan.

The annual Balikatan drill – that translates to “shoulder-to-shoulder” from Filipino – will begin on 22 April and continue till 10 May.

“It will be the first time the mega drills are being carried out beyond Philippine territorial waters," said Michael Logico, a Philippine army colonel overseeing the exercises.

This also marks the inaugural participation of the Philippine Coast Guard in military exercises. The coast guard has been increasingly involved in confrontations with China, notably in areas like the disputed Second Thomas Shoal.


Issuing a warning against holding the drills, China’s Foreign Ministry said that the involvement of extra-territorial countries to show off their force in the South China Sea will only provoke confrontation and undermine regional stability.

"Attempts to bring in external forces to safeguard its so-called security will only lead to greater insecurity for itself," ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said at a regular news conference, urging both countries to stop provocation.

He said Manila should be "sober enough to realise" the consequences.
A handout photo made available by Philippine Marines Corps - Public Affairs Office (PMC-PAO) shows US and Filipino Marines soldiers maneuvering during a jungle survival drill

A handout photo made available by Philippine Marines Corps - Public Affairs Office (PMC-PAO) shows US and Filipino Marines soldiers maneuvering during a jungle survival drill (EPA)

Mr Logico said US troops and their Manila counterparts will simulate retaking islands occupied by hostile forces in the northernmost islands of the country, close to Taiwan and in the western Palawan province facing the South China Sea.

For the first time since the inception of the annual exercise in 1991, a small French contingent will participate in this year’s drills. They will deploy a frigate that will sail alongside Philippine and US naval vessels in Manila’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.

Around 14 nations will join as observers, including Japan, India and countries in Asean and the European Union, Mr Logico said.

The Philippines on Thursday defended its decision to strengthen ties with the US and Japan as the countries following a trilateral summit that drew flak from China.

The Philippine Foreign Ministry has called it a “sovereign choice" as the trilateral grouping would promote peace and economic growth in the Indo-Pacific. China should not be threatened by it, a statement said.
President Joe Biden, center, speaks alongside Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., left, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida before a trilateral meeting

President Joe Biden, center, speaks alongside Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., left, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida before a trilateral meeting (AP)

"The source of tension in our region is well known to all. China should reflect upon its own actions in the South China Sea," the ministry said.
“It is China’s excessive maritime claims and aggressive behaviour, including its militarisation of reclaimed features, that are undermining regional peace and stability and raising tensions.”

US president Joe Biden hosted Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr and Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida in Washington last week where the three leaders jointly expressed their "serious concerns" over China’s actions in the South China Sea.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry had opposed the summit saying it opposes "forming exclusive circles in the region" and any "acts that stoke and drive up tensions".

Ties between Manila and Beijing have torpedoed to worse in recent years maritime run-ins in disputed atolls and shoals in the South China Sea that had led to injuries to Filipino coast guards.

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China has been accused of using “gray-zone” harassment tactics such as shining military-grade lasers, the firing of water cannons and ramming into vessels, escalating tensions.

 
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Philippines, US launch annual joint military drills​

WASHINGTON​

Philippines, US launch annual joint military drills

Thousands of Filipino and American troops kicked off joint military exercises in the Philippines on Monday, as Beijing's growing assertiveness in the region raises fears of a conflict.

The annual drills — dubbed Balikatan, or "shoulder to shoulder" in Tagalog — will be concentrated in the northern and western parts of the archipelago nation, near the potential flashpoints of the South China Sea and Taiwan.

China claims almost the entire waterway, a key route for international trade, and also considers self-ruled Taiwan to be part of its territory.

"We're going to show the people of the Philippines and the world that we've gotten better and we're never going to stop doing so," Lieutenant General William Jurney, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, said at the opening ceremony in Manila.

"When we get better the Philippines gets stronger, safer and more secure."

In response to China's growing influence, the United States has been bolstering alliances with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Philippines.


Washington and Manila are treaty allies and have deepened their defence cooperation since Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos took office in 2022.

While the Philippines is poorly armed, its proximity to the South China Sea and Taiwan would make it a key partner for the United States in the event of a conflict with China.

"The purpose of armed forces, why we exist, is really to prepare for war," Philippine Colonel Michael Logico told reporters ahead of the drills.

"There's no sugarcoating it... for us not to prepare, that's a disservice to the country."

The Philippine Coast Guard will join Balikatan for the first time following several confrontations between its vessels and the China Coast Guard, which patrols reefs off the Philippines' coast.

The joint drills involve a simulation of an armed recapture of an island in Palawan province, the nearest major Philippine landmass to the hotly disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

The same exercise will be held in the northern provinces of Cagayan and Batanes, both less than 300 kilometres (180 miles) from Taiwan.

Like last year, there will be a sinking of a vessel off the northern province of Ilocos Norte.

Other training will concern information warfare, maritime security, and integrated air and missile defence.

The United States has deployed its Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) guided missiles to the Philippines for Balikatan, but Logico said the weapons would not be used in the drills.

China's foreign ministry has accused the United States of "stoking military confrontation", and warned the Philippines to "stop sliding down the wrong path".

'Safer global community'

The exercises, which will run until May 10, will involve around 11,000 American and 5,000 Filipino troops, as well as Australian and French military personnel.

France, which is participating in Balikatan for the first time, will deploy a warship that will take part in a joint exercise with Philippine and U.S. vessels.

Fourteen countries in Asia and Europe will join as observers.

In another first, the drills will go beyond the Philippines' territorial waters, which extend about 22 kilometres from its coastline, Logico said.

Philippine military chief General Romeo Brawner said Balikatan was an "extraordinary opportunity for us to deepen our collaborations with friends, partners and allies".

"Cooperation and military to military collaboration play vital roles in ensuring a safer global community for generations to come," Brawner said.


 

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Chinese sailors wield sticks, axe in disputed sea clash with Philippines​

MANILA​

Chinese sailors wield sticks, axe in disputed sea clash with Philippines

This frame grab from handout video taken on June 17, 2024 and released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Public Affairs Office on June 19 shows China coast guard personnel appearing to wield bladed weapons during an incident off Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea.

Chinese coast guard sailors brandishing weapons including sticks, knives and an axe clashed with Philippine naval vessels near a strategic reef in the South China Sea, dramatic new footage released by Manila showed.


The clash took place Monday as Philippine forces attempted to resupply marines stationed on a derelict warship deliberately grounded atop the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, Manila said.

Fresh footage of the confrontation released late Wednesday by the Philippine military showed small boats crewed by Chinese sailors shouting, waving knives and using sticks to hit an inflatable boat as a siren blares.

The Philippines military said the axe-wielding sailor had "threatened to injure" a Filipino soldier, while others were "explicitly threatening to harm" Filipino troops.

A Filipino sailor lost a thumb in the incident, which saw the Chinese coast guard confiscate or destroy Philippine equipment including guns, according to the Philippine military.

Manila's footage of the clash stands in stark contrast to photos released by Beijing's state media on Wednesday, which did not show Chinese forces wielding weapons.


Beijing has insisted that its coast guard behaved in a "professional and restrained" way during the confrontation and claimed "no direct measures" were taken against Filipino personnel.

But in a clip shared by Manila, a Chinese sailor standing on the deck of one of the boats can be clearly seen waving an axe.
Another clip shows a Chinese coast guard sailor violently striking the inflatable boat with a stick. A second man can also be seen stabbing the boat with a knife.

"The (Chinese coast guard) personnel then began hurling rocks and other objects at our personnel," Manila said.
"They also slashed the (inflatable boats), rendering them inoperable."

The Filipino sailors, clad in brown camouflage with helmets and vests, are not carrying weapons in the clips.

"Amidst this violent confrontation, the CCG (Chinese coast guard) also deployed tear gas, intensifying the chaos and confusion, while continuously blaring sirens to further disrupt communication," the caption said.

Philippine military chief General Romeo Brawner said Wednesday the outnumbered Filipino crew had been unarmed and had fought with their "bare hands".

In one clip, a voice speaking Tagalog can be heard saying someone had "lost a finger".

Manila has accused Beijing of an "act of piracy" against its forces.
It has demanded the return of items "looted" by the Chinese side, including seven guns, and reparations for the damaged equipment.
south china sea,

 

Saithan

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I’m more interested in what they are going to do to change the losing strategy ?
 

Saithan

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West Philippine Sea: China Coast Guard’s ‘monster ship’ still in Escoda – PCG


PH, Sino ministers talk de-escalation—but ‘Monster’ back in EEZ

THEMONSTER Filipino coast guardsmen aboard BRP Teresa Magbanua catch a glimpse of the largest China Coast Guard ship 5901 from a porthole at Escoda (Sabina) Shoal on July 3. —PHOTO FROM PCG


MANILA, Philippines — China Coast Guard’s (CCG) “monster ship” remains within Escoda (Sabina) Shoal contrary to a previous report that it had left, Commodore Jay Tarriela, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea (WPS), said on Wednesday.

Tarriela also confirmed the presence of a 135-meter CCG ship with hull number 5303 within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The ship was spotted some 60 nautical miles west of Lubang Island on July 14, as revealed by WPS monitor Ray Powell.

“On July 17, 2024, at 7:36 a.m. this morning, the BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV 9701) remained to monitor the presence of the CCGV 5901, which was anchored near Escoda shoal. The CCGV 5901 was approximately 638 yards away from the port quarter of the MRRV 970,” Tarriela said in an interview over Kapihan sa Manila Bay.

READ: West Philippine Sea: China’s ‘monster ship’ leaves Escoda Shoal – Navy

“The second ship, 5303, came close to Lubang Island; I would like to confirm that it was also true. We also monitored that it was moving away towards Palawan and is no longer there in Lubang Island,” he added.


Earlier Wednesday, Powell revealed in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that “CCG 5303 ended [its] two days of loitering activity off of Lubang Island yesterday but is extending its intrusive patrol even closer to the Philippines’ coastline.”

“It is now moving 35 to 40 nm from northern Palawan near El Nido,” he added.

Tarriela said the PCG is now closely monitoring China’s monster ship and has already deployed BRP Melchora Aquino in response to the other ship moving toward Palawan.

On Tuesday, Rear Admiral Roy Vincent Trinidad, navy spokesperson for the WPS, confirmed the monster had exited the country’s EEZ.

“It is no longer off Escoda Shoal,” Trinidad said, adding that “no replacement” has been sent for the ship.


When asked if the “monster ship” is still in the country’s EEZ, he said: “No. We have to check its latest location.”

To explain the confusing reports from the Navy and PCG officials, Powell explained in a separate post that the monster moved outside Escoda shoal for three days from July 12 to 15.


“For most of that time, it remained just to the northeast, except for a brief patrol to the south on the 15th. The two maritime militia ships that accompanied it also went back to the shelter of Mischief Reef during this period — as did the militia ships around Second Thomas (Ayungin) Shoal,” Powell wrote.

“All are now back in place, with CCG 5901 and 2 militia ships back inside the Sabina Shoal closely watching the Philippines Coast Guard ship BRP Teresa Magbanua, as they were previously,” he further explained.

He added: “The most likely explanation for their temporary departure would appear to be sea state. Wave heights were elevated during that period, so the ships likely moved to safer locations as a precaution.”


 

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