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Five PLA vessels approaching the Philippines: Duowei

Five PLA vessels are approaching the waters of the Philippines, according to Duowei News, a news outlet operated by overseas Chinese.

The five ships reportedly include two Type-052B destroyers, two Type-054A frigates and one Type-071 amphibious transport vessel. A Chinese naval analyst has said that the ships are on a training mission but could be sent to support the Chinese fishery administration ships around Scarborough Shoal if the standoff between China and the Philippines over the disputed South China Sea atoll escalates. 

Though Manila is trying to purchase more advanced weaponry from the US to strengthen its armed forces, a report from US military analyst Richard W Fisher says the Chinese navy would have little difficulty preventing Philippine ships from approaching Scarborough Shoal, about 200 kilometers from the western coast of Luzon. 

With a displacement of just 3,200 tons, the Hamilton-class cutters of the Philippine navy are no match for the four Chinese destroyers and frigates, which together would carry about 48 C-802/803 anti-ship missiles. The Philippines has none.

Flying only a handful of Cold War-era F-5A and F-5B fighters, the Philippine air force also poses little threat to the Chinese fleet. Manila is looking to purchase secondhand F-16 fighters from the United States over the next two years which it would use for sea patrol missions. Such missions are currently being carried out by OV-10 light attack and observation aircraft. 
Because of the plane's slow speed, two OV-10s were intercepted by fighters from the PLA Air Force in early 2011.

The standoff at Scarborough Shoal began on April 10 when two Chinese fishery administration ships were deployed to prevent the Philippine navy from arresting and detaining Chinese fishermen who had been apprehended in the area claimed by the two sides.

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Want China Times | May 16, 2012 | Article Link

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