Monthly Archives: March 2012

Chinese surveillance ships, choppers patrol West PHL Sea

A marine surveillance fleet that included three surveillance ships and a helicopter left Hainan province in China Friday afternoon to conduct regular patrols in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). China’s Xinhua news agency reported the marine surveillance fleet departed from Sanya in South China for the “regular patrols.” The report posted on China’s government portal quoted Chen Huaibei, head of the patrol team, as saying the patrolling missions will include “inspecting the islands and marine resources and ecology, and setting up a profile for each island.” He added this is the first time for the Chinese maritime helicopter and ships to be dispatched to patrol the Xisha Islands at the same time since Sansha City was officially set up in July last year. Sansha City is located in an area of the Spratlys where a 34-year-old Philippine town in Palawan province has a claim, particularly the Pag-asa Islet. The Xinhua report said the team includes three China Marine Surveillance (CMS) ships: Haijian 83, Haijian 262, and Haijian 263. Joining the patrol will be a Haijian B-7103 helicopter. “Haijian” is the Chinese equivalent of “marine surveillance,” the Xinhua report said. It added the fleet will patrol waters around the Xisha Islands for nine days. “The CMS ships are under the administration of the State Oceanic Administration. They have performed regular patrols and law-enforcement activities in waters under China’s jurisdiction since 2006,” it said. — LBG, GMA News

Palace: PHL may talk to other claimants on Taiwan’s military drill plans in Spratlys

The Philippines may talk to other claimants of the Spratly Islands over Taiwan’s reported plans to stage live-fire drills there, Malacañang said Saturday. Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office head Ramon Carandang also said they may “deal with that when it happens.” “Meron tayong diplomatic channels para makipag-usap sa ibaang bansa tungkol sa issue na yan,” he said on government-run dzRB radio. The Philippines and Taiwan are among six claimants to the Spratly Islands, the others being China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. While the Philippines has economic ties with Taiwan, it considers Taiwan a province of China. Earlier reports quoted Taiwan’s coast guard as saying Friday it may stage a live-fire exercise next month in the disputed South China Sea (West Philippine Sa) group of islands. The drill will supposedly take place on Taiping Island in the Spratlys between April 9 and 11. It will involve 40mm artillery and 120mm mortars, both shipped to the island last year to boost Taiwan’s defense capability there. — LBG, GMA News