Taiwan navy, air force to train in South China Sea due to growing security threat

UNTV News   •   March 2, 2017   •   3545

Taiwanese Defence Minister Feng Shih-kuan (R) visits the International Maritime and Defense Industry Exposition in Kaohsiung, Taiwan September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Taiwan’s navy will step up regular patrols around the South China Sea and conduct joint training with the air force in response to China’s growing military power in the region, the island’s defense minister said on Thursday.

“Looking ahead at the transformation of China’s strategy and its investment in new weapons equipment, our military will practice new reforms in our training,” Feng Shih-kuan told a parliamentary session.

“The navy, during its regular South China Sea patrols, will conduct joint training with the air force in protecting fishermen and supply transports, and in humanitarian rescue drills to expand the combat readiness of our sea and air patrols,” Feng said in presenting the ministry’s latest report.

Taiwan deploys regular supplies to Itu Aba, its sole holding in the disputed South China Sea, the energy rich waters that is also claimed by China, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei.

Feng’s remarks come ahead of China’s new defense budget for 2017, to be unveiled on the weekend at the annual meeting of the Chinese parliament. The figures are closely watched around the region and in Washington for clues to China’s intentions.

Self-ruled Taiwan is increasingly concerned over China’s military threat. Beijing has never renounced the use of force to take back what it deems a wayward province.

Beijing has regularly flown Chinese military jets over the South China Sea and recently sailed its first aircraft carrier around Taiwan in what it called routine drills.

The need for China to practice these drills in bigger air and sea space, particularly in the Pacific Ocean to Taiwan’s east, represents “an increase in threat”, Feng said.

“The deployment of this force is done entirely for the security of our country,” Feng said when asked by a lawmaker about the positioning of a surface-to-air anti-missile system, the Patriot Advanced Capability, on Taiwan’s eastern coast. The Patriot anti-missile system is among Taiwan’s defense wares.

(Reporting by J.R. Wu; Editing by Michael Perry)

US reaffirms pledge to defend PH vs any attack in South China Sea

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The United States has reaffirmed its pledge to defend the Philippines against any attack in the South China Sea, according to U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price, as published in the US Embassy in the Philippines website.

Price said Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on January 27 spoke with Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin, Jr. in which the two officials “reaffirmed that a strong U.S.-Philippine Alliance is vital to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

Price emphasized America’s rejection of China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea, reiterating the importance of the Mutual Defense Treaty for the security of the Philippines and the US.

“Secretary Blinken stressed the importance of the Mutual Defense Treaty for the security of both nations, and its clear application to armed attacks against the Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific, which includes the South China Sea,” Price said.

“Secretary Blinken also underscored that the United States rejects China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea to the extent they exceed the maritime zones that China is permitted to claim under international law as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention,” Price added.

Price also emphasized America’s pledge to stand with Southeast Asian claimants in the face of PRC pressure.

“The two secretaries committed to continue building upon a relationship founded on shared strategic interests and history, democratic values, and strong people-to-people ties,” the official said. -AAC

Philippines protests China’s new law allowing coast guard to fire on foreign vessels

Marje Pelayo   •   January 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has filed a diplomatic protest over China’s new law allowing its coast guard to fire on a foreign vessel in areas it claims in the disputed South China Sea.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin broke out the news in a tweet on Wednesday (January 27).

The new Chinese law was passed and adopted on January 23, 2021, authorizes the China Coast Guard to “take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.”

It covers the South China Sea where several Southeast Asian nations are into a territorial conflict.

Locsin said such a law can be likened to a “verbal threat of war” to any country that would defy it.

China’s new legislation is expected to escalate tensions anew among claimants in the disputed territory including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Gordon lauds Locsin for filing diplomatic protest vs China’s new law

Robie de Guzman   •   January 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A senator on Thursday commended Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. for filing a diplomatic protest against a new law passed by China that allows its coast guard to shoot foreign vessels in the contested areas in South China Sea.

“I commend Secretary Locsin for taking a very important and valiant action by standing up for our rights. He did right by our country, and we support him wholeheartedly,” Senator Richard Gordon, chairperson of the Senate Committee on justice and human rights, said in a statement.

Locsin on Wednesday said he has filed a diplomatic protest against China for its new law, which he called a “verbal threat of war” to any country that defies it.

China’s legislative body last week passed the law that allows its coast guard to undertake all necessary measures, including the use of weapons, when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.

“When another country claims the oceans surrounding us, which we claim, even threatens to demolish our fishing boats or fishing boats of any country that get to that ocean or that sea, this is a serious cause for concern. This is a shot in the bow of all the claimants in the territories,” Gordon said.

Other senators have also expressed concern over the measure that could endanger the lives of Filipino fishermen who venture in the disputed parts of the West Philippine Sea.

The law is expected to stoke tensions anew in the waters where the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims.

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes the Philippines and 3 other South China Sea claimants, are currently negotiating for a more binding code of conduct in the contested waters. 

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