New Philippine navy chief keeps US ties afloat

Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, the Philippine Navy’s newly appointed chief, is not clearly taking his early command orders from President Rodrigo Duterte. Bacordo, who took up the navy’s top post on February 3, vowed at his appointment ceremony to “continue to maintain the nine occupied features in the [South China Sea]. We will continue to replenish and rotate our personnel in the [area],” he said. “At all times, we will show the flag in the [sea],” he told reporters, in remarks that likely pleased the United States and potentially…

Lorenzana confirms ‘intermittent’ presence of Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday confirmed the “intermittent” presence of Chinese vessels surrounding Pag-asa (Thitu) Island in the West Philippine Sea. “There were presence there intermittently but varying in numbers,” he told reporters in a text message. The Defense chief was responding to queries about the constant presence of Chinese maritime militia and coast guard near the Philippine-occupied island in the Spratlys. Pag-asa is the only outpost occupied by the Philippines in the Spratly Islands with a civilian community. Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) director Gregory…

South China Sea: Philippines row pushes Trump into backing down from region | World | News

The US and the Philippines have come to blows in recent weeks as the Asian nation looks to secure more independence from the US. President Rodrigo Duterte threatened last month to rip up an agreement between Manila and Washington, which would stop US troops from training in the country. The row was sparked after Mr Duterte’s political ally had his visa in the US cancelled. The White House expressed concern over Manila’s methods for combating drug-related crime in the Philippines. The Filipino leader lashed out in an animated fashion, calling…

Political advantage through aid or trade: India’s knee jerk on Malaysia and Turkey

For years, China, Brunei, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam have contested overlapping claims to hundreds of coral reefs, features, and islets in the South China Sea. China’s man-made islands fortified with airstrips, anti cruise missiles, control towers, naval bases has allowed it to assert its sovereignty vigorously and poised it to seize greater control of the sea. As it’s economic and military position bolstered, it resorted to bullying its small neighbors by illicitly entering their territorial waters or by hindering their oil and gas explorations in the disputed waters. China…

Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Alex Donahue discusses the importance of proper knots and rigging with Philippine soldiers at Fort Ramon Magsaysay, Philippines on May 4, 2017. US Army Photo Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s termination of a key military pact with the United States, the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which governed the deployment of US troops in the country, has evoked varied responses. In some liberal and progressive circles, the move provoked trepidation owing to Duterte’s perceived closeness to Chinese President Xi Jinping. Others were disoriented by the fact that the…

Understanding Total Competition and China’s Challenge in the South China Sea – The Diplomat

Advertisement China’s behavior in the South China Sea and its ambitions in Southeast Asia continue to be scrutinized today amid wider trends, including intensifying U.S.-China competition, rising conversations about an Indo-Pacific regional architecture, and the ongoing effort by Beijing and Southeast Asian states to work toward a binding code of conduct in the South China Sea. To get at these issues, The Diplomat’s senior editor Prashanth Parameswaran spoke to Patrick Cronin, the Asia-Pacific Security Chair at the Hudson institute, and Ryan Neuhard, a research associate there. Cronin and Neuhard are…

S’pore, Germany eye new areas of defence collaboration, Singapore News & Top Stories

Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen met German Federal Minister of Defence Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on Sunday to explore new areas of defence collaboration, including in cyber security and the tackling of disinformation. The two ministers’ first meeting took place on the sidelines of the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany. The annual three-day, high-level security conference brings together more than 500 heads of government, defence and foreign ministers, parliamentarians, military leaders and security experts from around the world. During the meeting, Dr Ng thanked Germany for supporting the Singapore…

Philippine Move to Scrap US Military Deal Boosts China’s Clout in Asia | Voice of America

TAIPEI – The Philippine president’s proposed cancellation of a 32-year-old military pact with the United States gives regional power China chances to strengthen its influence in Asia as U.S. military units would visit less often. Chinese naval ships, military aircraft and coast guard-escorted fishing vessels would find it easier to move around the disputed South China Sea, which lies west of the Philippines, analysts in Asia say. Naval ships also could more freely enter the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan – the first-island chain. Those waters…

Meet China’s New JH-7A ‘Flying Leopard’ Supersonic Fighter Bomber

Key Point: China will find a use for its new plane. On August 8, Chinese media reported that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force had unveiled a new variant of its JH-7A maritime strike jet at the Russian Aviadarts aviation competition. The new model, called the JH-7AII, was not visibly different from the base model, but is believed to possess improved radar and cockpit avionics. The JH-7 “Flying Leopard”—codenamed “Flounder” by NATO—is an old-school design conceived before the advent of stealth technology. The bomber manufacturer Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation began working…

Navy Says Upgrading Older Littoral Combat Ships Just Not Worth It « Breaking Defense

USS Gabrielle Giffords launches a Naval Strike Missile. WASHINGTON: As part of its culling of ships in the 2021 budget submission, the Navy wants to scrap four Littoral Combat Ships which it says are already so outdated they can’t be even be used for training anymore, despite two of them being less than a decade old. The requested retirement is another example of the litany of problems the LCS program has suffered during its short life: cost overruns, highly-anticipated ship modules that just don’t work, and propulsion issues that have…