Philippines, US to hold exercises near Panatag Scarborough Shoal

File photo of US marines and their Philippine counterparts take part in joint Philippine-US military exercises, April 15, 2013. (AFP/Ted Aljibe)

The United States and the Philippines are to hold joint naval manoeuvres in the South China Sea next week between the main island of Luzon and a reef claimed by both China and Philippines, the Filipino navy said.

The exercises taking place from June 27 to July 2 by the two allies are to be held about 108 kilometers (67 miles) east of Scarborough Shoal, navy spokesman Lieutenant-Commander Gregory Fabic told AFP.

Chinese government vessels are still believed to be patrolling the waters around the shoal after a lengthy stand-off last year with the Philippines, which ended with a Filipino retreat.

"This was planned way back in 2010. Whatever happened since then was purely coincidental," Fabic said when asked if holding the exercises there this year were a way for the Philippines to reassert its sovereignty over the shoal.

The manoeuvres would be held over 12,347 square kilometers (4,767 square miles) of waters, he added.

Chinese embassy spokesmen in Manila could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Beijing claims it has sovereign rights over nearly all of the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea, even waters far away from its main landmass and approaching the coasts of Southeast Asian countries.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also claim parts of the sea, and the area has for decades been regarded as a potential trigger for major military conflict in the region.

Since last month, the Philippine navy has also been monitoring Chinese government vessels in the South China Sea stationed off a Filipino-controlled reef in the Spratly Islands called the 'Anguyin Reef" or  Second Thomas Shoal.

Fabic said an unspecified number of US Navy ships, Marines and aircraft will take part in the exercises alongside Philippine Navy and coastguard vessels and aircraft, Filipino Marines, and navy and coastguard special operations teams.

"We will focus on communications, naval surface operations, counter-terrorism and maritime security," he said.

"This is to increase the level of inter-operability between the Philippine Navy and the US Navy in the conduct of combined naval operations."

- AFP/fl

Channel News Asia

Share on Google Plus

About Webber

I am among of the writers and administrators of this web site. I always on the heads up when it comes to Sports, Politics, Economy, Business, Physics, Mathematics, Technology, computers and NEWS all over the world that triggers ny eyes and interests. I am working as a volunteer with other 14 administrators, researchers, writers and contributors. We are a strong solid team. Join us and be among of the contributor with your name on each posted article.

    Anonymous or Google Comment
    Facebook Comment

YOU MAY LIKE TO READ

LEARN FOREX TRADING AND GET RICH

Investment Recommendation: Bitcoin Investments

Live trading with Bitcoin through ETORO Trading platform would allow you to grow your $100 to $1,000 Dollars or more in just a day. Just learn how to trade and enjoy the windfall of profits. Take note, Bitcoin is more expensive than Gold now.


Where to buy Bitcoins?

For Philippine customers: You could buy Bitcoin Online at Coins.ph
For outside the Philippines customers  may buy Bitcoins online at Coinbase.com