Military unfazed by sightings of Chinese vessel in Ayungin Shoal

Marje Pelayo   •   August 23, 2019   •   630

FILE PHOTO: A Chinese Coast Guard vessel is pictured on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea March 29, 2014. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported on August 20 sightings of Chinese Coast Guard in Ayungin Shoal within the Philippines exclusive economy zone (EEZ).

According to the military, the vessel remained in Ayungin Reef for almost three weeks.

The AFP Western Mindanao Command reported its first sighting of the Chinese vessel on August 1.

It leaves the area every time it runs out of supply.

 “Nagmo-monitor lang sila ng mga galaw ng mga boat nila saka ‘yong sa atin din saka kung ano ‘yong nangyayari doon. They’re just there,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Penetrante, the AFP Wescom spokesman.

The official noted that the presence of the Chinese vessel does not interfere in their operations in the area where the BRP Sierra Madre is also docked to serve as a military outpost in the said waters.

“Wala namang conflict na gustong [gawin]. (They are not inviting conflict.) They are just there. Parang tolerating their presence,” Penetrante said.

As of this writing, China’s embassy in the Philippines has yet to respond on the matter. – MNP (with reports from April Cenedoza)

PHL, Chinese Coast Guard hold joint maritime drills in Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard and Chinese Coast Guard on Wednesday conducted joint maritime drills on search and rescue and combating fire at sea in the waters off the Philippine capital.

In a statement, the PCG said participating Filipino and Chinese personnel were given a scenario involving a vessel that caught fire while transiting Manila waters.

In response, the PCG deployed its 44-meter multi-role response vessel 4401, BRP Tubbataha, while the Chinese team dispatched vessel 5204. Both ships were equipped with water cannons used in firefighting assistance.

Five passengers and eight crew aboard the distressed ship were also rescued using rigid hull inflatable boats with rescue swimmers to aid the victims.

The PCG said the drill allows coast guard personnel to exercise interoperability and strengthen their capabilities in responding to such crises.

The joint maritime drills on search and rescue, and combating fire at sea are part of the week-long activities of Chinese Coast Guard’s port call in Manila.

The visit aims to strengthen understanding, mutual trust, and cooperation between the Philippines and China Coast Guard in a bid to promote maritime security and maritime law enforcement amid the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

Phl, China formally opens Maritime Exercise

Maris Federez   •   January 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and China marked the formal opening of the maritime exercise between the two countries on Tuesday (Jan. 14).

The Philippine Coast Guard headed by Adm. Joel Garcia this morning welcomed the Chinese Coast Guard delegation headed by its director-general, MGen. Wang Zhongcai.

The bilateral exercise which aimed at strengthening the cooperation between the two coast guards will carry on until Friday (Jan. 17). — (with details from Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

PH, China Coast Guard to hold joint maritime exercises next week

Robie de Guzman   •   January 10, 2020

FILE PHOTO: A Chinese Coast Guard vessel is pictured on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea March 29, 2014. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

MANILA, Philippines – The Chinese Coast Guard will dock in Manila on Monday, January 13 for a five-day goodwill visit, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Friday.

PCG spokesperson Captain Armand Balilo said the China Coast Guard, headed by Director General Major General Wang Zhongcai, will visit the country for the conduct of maritime exercises with the PCG.

Participating coast guard members from the two countries will also hold search and rescue, and firefighting exercises. The drill will be held from January 13 to 17.

Balilo said that during the port visit, the Chinese and the Philippine coast guards will come up with a resolution that would ensure the security and safety of Filipino fishermen and public vessels traversing the country’s waters.

The PCG said it will welcome the China Coast Guard not with red carpet but with diplomatic reciprocity, the same way it welcomed the PCG during a past visit.

The Philippines has been in dispute with China over territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea.

On several cases, Chinese ships were reported to have been circling shoals under the Philippine territory, including the vicinity of Pagasa Island in the West Philippine Sea. There were also cases of Filipino vessels reportedly harassed by the Chinese Coast Guard vessels.

The PCG expressed hope that the drill would be an opportunity for both sides to discuss the issue, and help improve the line of communication between the two nations when it comes to maritime patrol.

“Para magkaintindihan din kasi ang iniisip nga namin kung merong ma-enhance iyong pagkakaibigan baka sakaling magkaintindihan, even doon sa patrol at tsaka sa mga challenges, baka magkaroon ng tamang protocol kung paano ang dapat na engagement,” Balilo said.

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