US military to help Philippines monitor coastal waters

The US military said Tuesday it planned to help the Philippines monitor its coastal waters as Manila faces an escalating dispute with China over territorial claims.

The Pentagon revised earlier comments and said there was no firm plan to deliver a land-based radar to the Philippines, but that a radar could be part of future assistance.

"We are in the initial planning stages of assisting the Philippines with a National Coast Watch Center," Major Catherine Wilkinson told AFP.

The center is designed "to create an overall picture of what is going on in the Philippines' territorial waters," she said.

"Right now we are discussing a range of options and no details have been finalized. Radars may be an eventual part of the package but it hasn't been determined yet."

The cost and the time line for the project were still being worked out, she said.

The Philippines has requested radar, patrol aircraft and naval vessels as it seeks to bolster its position in a row with China over the Scarborough Shoal, which lies near the main Philippine island of Luzon.

China claims the area along with virtually all of the South China Sea up to the shores of other Southeast Asian nations, including Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The Pentagon's comments came after President Benigno Aquino paid a visit last week to the White House, where he was offered a robust show of support.

Plans to help Manila reflect Washington's strategic shift towards Asia amid a growing rivalry with Beijing, with the South China Sea at the center of the contest, analysts said.

"Land-based radar is one of the practical ways the United States can simultaneously boost Philippine defense capabilities and signal Washington's long-term commitment to Asia," said Patrick Cronin, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank.

China may choose to defuse tensions with the Philippines just before a gathering of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations next month, Cronin said.

"But it is also possible that China is determined to humiliate the Philippines and, indirectly, the United States," he told AFP.

Manila's request for US military help marks a reversal after the Philippines evicted the American military from its vast naval base at Subic Bay in 1992.

It was unlikely the United States would look at providing military aircraft at a time when China may be preparing a conciliatory gesture, Cronin said.

"If China persists with embarrassing the Philippines, then I have no doubt aircraft sales will follow," he said.

Tensions between Beijing and Manila escalated in April when Chinese and Philippine vessels approached the Scarborough Shoal, which lies near the main Philippine island of Luzon. Manila says the rock formation falls within its exclusive economic zone.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington will never be deterred by "acts of violence" as the ambassador was rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. In a brief …

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • Ohio mom, boyfriend guilty; child emailed teacher for help

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options