Philippines Shelves Plan for South China Sea Fishing Militia

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The Philippine government has reportedly backed down on a plan to deploy fishermen as militia forces in disputed parts of the South China Sea, citing concerns about the potential for conflict with China.

In a briefing on November 5, President Rodrigo Duterte’s National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said that the plan, designed to beef up its defenses after years of Chinese intimidation in disputed areas, had not been “finalized” due to worries that the action could be “misconstrued.”

Last month, Philippine defense officials said they were considering recruiting fishermen into seaborne militia units similar to those used by Beijing to assert its claims over the resource-rich seaway. The plans prompted one prominent Filipino observer to predict a “‘gray zone’ arms race in Southeast Asia.”

https://thediplomat.com/2020/11/philippines-shelves-plan-for-south-china-sea-fishing-militia/

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