MANILA – A classified government document seen by Kyodo News on Friday confirmed that U.S. Navy surveillance planes conduct routine maritime patrol to monitor activities in the disputed South China Sea.
“(There were) confirmed flights of U.S. P3C Orion aircraft over the South China Sea especially (in the contested Spratly Islands),” according to the document.
Last year, Philippine President Benigno Aquino revealed that Manila was seeking U.S. deployment of P3C Orion spy planes over the disputed sea since the Philippines lacks the capability to monitor its territorial and maritime claims in the sea.
“We can only do (the) best (with) what we have,” the document says. “The military is aware of its limitations as regards equipment, naval and air assets, facilities and funding to support our efforts” in the South China Sea.