US-Philippines naval drill fuels tension

Beijing (China Daily/ANN) - Washington and Manila kicked off yesterday their second joint military drill of the year, and analysts warned that the move will bring more uncertainty to regional ties in the wake of the Huangyan Island incident.

The Philippines-United States naval training exercises, scheduled from Monday to July 10 near Mindanao Sea, began with US vessels, including the USS Vandegrift, arriving at Makar Port in General Santos City in the southern Philippines yesterday.

The drill involves 450 members of the Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard, and 500 staff members of the US Navy and Coast Guard.

Dave Welch, commodore of the USS Vandegrift, said the training will include in-port exercises and expertise exchanges, Xinhua reported.

Although the Philippines' armed forces said the drill is an annual routine and "not aimed at any third party", analysts said the exercise benefits the country and further helps the US shift strategic emphasis back to the Asia-Pacific region.

"The drill shows both Washington and Manila's will to beef up their alliance since the 1950s, and Manila has received support from Washington in various areas, especially this year," said Yang Baoyun, a professor of Southeast Asian studies at Peking University.

The US has reiterated that it does not take a position on the rival territorial claims of countries in the South China Sea, but Manila still has expressed its hope that Washington could back its claim to China's Huangyan Island, Yang said.

On April 10, 12 Chinese fishing boats were harassed by a Philippine Navy gunboat while taking refuge from harsh weather in a lagoon near China's Huangyan Island. Two Chinese Marine Surveillance ships in the area later came to rescue the Chinese fishermen from being detained by Philippine naval forces.

Later, Beijing protested Manila's infringement on China's sovereignty, and sent official ships to the spot for a monitoring mission. The drill comes after Manila's announcement on Friday that it had sent observers to the US-led Rim of the Pacific Exercises (Rimpac), the largest-ever naval drill in the region, involving 22 countries.

"The Philippines' decision to join yesterday's drill and its involvement in the Rimpac are aimed at demonstrating its alliance with the US, and it is also showing off strength to China," said Yin Zhuo, a military expert in Beijing.

Yin warned that the recent drills may add rifts between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Washington has recently been restrained on issues concerning Manila and the Huangyan Island, and it also hopes to keep China-US ties stable in an election year, said Yuan Peng, an American studies expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

However, the US has continued to resort to high-level consultations with Manila on regional issues after the Huangyan Island impasse.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in early June told Philippine President Benigno Aquino that Washington will continue to monitor the Huangyan Island situation closely.

Yesterday, Beijing also slammed Manila's recent remarks concerning the Huangyan Island, as reports said the Philippines military vowed to escort Philippine vessels and fishermen back to the island after the Philippine fishing ban ends. "We expect the Philippines to contribute more to facilitate both the ease of the island situation as well as the bilateral friendly cooperative relations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a daily news conference.

Philippine Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile was quoted by Philippine Daily Inquirer yesterday as saying China's claim to Huangyan Island was "legally weak".

"We hope the Philippines will stop making provocative comments time and time again, and avoid complicating the situation," Liu said.

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.

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar
    South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar

    South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a controversial adultery law which for more than 60 years had criminalised extra-marital sex and jailed violators for up to two years. The decision saw shares in the South Korean firm Unidus Corp., one of the world's largest condom manufacturers, soar by the daily limit of 15 percent on the local stock exchange. "Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals' private lives," said …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • U.S. flies most advanced surveillance plane from Philippines

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - The United States has begun flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, out of the Philippines for patrols over the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday, acknowledging the flights for the first time. The United States, the Philippines' oldest and closest ally, has promised to share "real time" information on what is happening in Philippine waters as China steps up its activities in the South China Sea. China claims most of …

  • Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts
    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. …

  • Purisima denies endorsing successor
    Purisima denies endorsing successor

    Resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima denied reports that he has been urging President Aquino to appoint his protegé as the new police chief. “Contrary to news reports, PDG Alan La Madrid Purisima is not in any position to recommend and has not in fact recommended anyone to the President for appointment as next chief of the PNP,” his lawyer Kristoffer James Purisima said yesterday. Sources said that Purisima may have resigned but he reportedly remains …

  • IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate
    IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate

    "Jihadi John", the masked Islamic State group militant believed responsible for beheading of at least five Western hostages, has been named as Kuwaiti-born computing graduate Mohammed Emwazi from London. "Jihadi John", nicknamed after Beatle John Lennon due to his British accent, is believed to be responsible for the murders of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig. …

  • ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’
    ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’

    Supt. Raymund Train, who led the SAF team that killed Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, recounted in a sworn statement the meeting he and senior SAF officers had with Aquino in Malacañang on Nov. 30. Train said among the senior officers who attended the meeting were then PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas, SAF deputy commander Chief Supt. Noli Taliño and intelligence group chief Senior Supt. Fernando Mendez. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options