Saturday, March 31, 2012

Philippine, Chinese ships face off near Spratlys

A senior Philippine military officer has revealed that Philippine and Chinese naval ships faced off near the disputed islands in the South China Sea in mid-March.

The military officer told NHK that a Chinese naval vessel approached a Philippine naval frigate on patrol in waters near the Spratly Islands.

The officer said tensions mounted between the 2 ships when they remained so close for some time as to be able to visually confirm each other's existence.

The officer said the face-off ended when the Chinese vessel left the scene.

The Philippines and China have territorial disputes over the Spratlys. The Philippines is conducting oil explorations in the waters called the Reed Bank near the islands. The country claims that the waters are within its exclusive economic zone. However, China strongly disputes this, arguing that the waters are within its EEZ.

Meanwhile, another Philippine military officer said his country agreed with Vietnam to stage a joint military exercise near the Spratlys.

Vietnam is also engaging in territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea. The Philippines and Vietnam are apparently boosting their military collaboration to keep China in check.
NHK World (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) | March 30, 2012 | Article Link