Philippines protests Chinese ships around disputed island

As many as 275 Chinese ships and boats have been spotted this year around Thitu island, also known as Pag-asa island in the Philippines, said Jason Ramon, chief of public affairs for the Philippine military’s western command, to CNN Philippines. Armed forces spokesperson Edgard Arevalo cautioned that it was difficult to quantify how many ships are around the island at any one time, as Chinese vessels “come and go” from the area. “The information that we got is the more likely intention is to establish their presence in the area,”…

US ships to continue sailing in South China Sea despite warning

By Dempsey Reyes /Manila Times Despite a warning coming from China not to start any trouble at the South China Sea (SCS), the United States yesterday maintained it would continue its operations there under international laws.“The United States will fly, sail and operate everywhere international law allows. That’s it. I wish we had a longer statement for you, that’s the simple truth,” Lt Gen Eric Smith, commander of the Japan-based US 3rd Marine Expeditionary Forces, said at a news briefing after the Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) war drills’ closing ceremony at Camp…

Philippines, US ships conduct drills near Panatag Shoal

MANILA, Philippines — The supposed unidentified aircraft carrier seen by local fishermen bound for Panatag Shoal was the USS Wasps, a helicopter carrier of the US Marines participating in this year’s joint Balikatan exercises, officials said yesterday. Reports said fishermen from Zambales on their way to fish in Panatag or Scarborough Shoal saw fighter jets taking off and landing on the unidentified aircraft carrier. “What was monitored is with the Balikatan exercise, along with our two Philippine Navy ships,” said Maj. Ericson Bolosan, spokesman for the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom). Bolosan…

US will not send ships to China’s upcoming naval celebration – News

US will not send ships to China’s upcoming naval celebration YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Navy will not be sending ships to China’s multinational naval celebration this month marking the 70th anniversary of the Chinese navy, according to Defense Department officials. Instead, the U.S. Embassy Beijing defense attaché will represent the United States at the event in Qingdao, China, April 22-25, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn told Stars and Stripes in an email Thursday. “The United States Navy will continue to engage the PLAN (People’s…

Navy ships sail alongside US warship in South China Sea

Navy ships sail alongside US warship in South China Sea (Philstar.com) – April 8, 2019 – 4:17pm MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Navy showcased its assets as part of the annual Balikatan exercises by sailing through the South China Sea , alongside the United States Navy. Photos released by the US Navy show the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp sailing alongside the Philippine Navy’s landing platform dock BRP Tarlac and offshore patrol vessel BRP Ramon Alcaraz in the contested waterway. The Philippines and the US launched the 35th iteration…

Philippines hits out at China’s ‘swarming’ South China Sea ships

MANILA — In rare public rebuke on Thursday, the Philippines hit out at China over the “illegal” presence of its vessels in a disputed area of the South China Sea. The foreign ministry said in a statement that the vessels “have been present in large numbers and for sustained and recurring periods” near the Philippine-controlled Kalayaan Island Group in the Spratly areas of the water. “Such actions are a clear violation of Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction” under international law. The statement comes ahead of a visit by President…

Philippines alarmed by roughly 200 Chinese ships spotted near disputed South China Sea isle this year

MANILA – Some 200 Chinese ships have been spotted near the Philippine-occupied Thitu Island in the South China Sea since the start of the year, triggering alarm in the Philippine military. Philippine soldiers will continue their patrols in the disputed area, military chief Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. said, adding that Chinese fishing vessels have repeatedly been spotted near the island. He urged a panel with representatives from both nations tasked with resolving South China Sea disputes to address Chinese presence in the area. “This is a concern not only for…