AFP chief, US Pacific Command chief likely to discuss Spratlys disputeBy Dona Z. Pazzibugan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Jessie Dellosa would most likely discuss with the visiting US Pacific Command chief, Admiral Samuel Locklear III, the increased Chinese intrusion in Philippine waters, the AFP spokesman said on Monday.
Dellosa and select top AFP officials proceeded to their closed-door meeting with Locklear after the arrival honors given to the American admiral at the Camp Aguinaldo military headquarters.
Locklear’s party arrived in Camp Aguinaldo at 3:25 p.m., almost half an hour behind schedule.
Dellosa afterwards took Locklear for another meeting with top defense officials at the nearby Department of National Defense headquarters.
Left to face reporters, Col. Arnulfo Burgos, the AFP spokesman, said the incidents and confrontations at the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal and Hasa-Hasa (Half Moon) Shoal were expected to be tackled in the discussion as these were “among the security issues that have bearing on regional security and stability.”
Burgos said the timing of Locklear’s visit was not connected to the embarrassing departure on Sunday of a Chinese warship that was stranded for four days in Hasa-Hasa Shoal while on “routine patrol.”
Hasa-Hasa Shoal is only 60 nautical miles from the main Palawan island and therefore well within the country’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
“Admiral Locklear’s visit is a continuation of the series of engagements started by the chief of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (General Martin Dempsey). This will further promote peace and stability in the Pacific region,” Burgos said.
He said the talks would cover “West Philippine Sea security… (and will) include efforts on counter-terrorism, bilateral training, the Pacific Partnership that further enhance defense ties and partnership with the US armed forces.”
In a brief statement, DND spokesman Peter Galvez said the discussion covered “deepening of cooperation, assistance and support activities in maritime domain awareness, information sharing, capability upgrading and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, among others.”
Tags: Armed Forces of the Philippines , China , Diplomacy , Foreign affairs , geopolitics , Global Nation , International relations , Jessie Dellosa , Military , military cooperation , Pacific Command , Philippines , Samuel Locklear III , Scarborough Shoal , South China Sea , Spratly Islands , territorial disputes , Territories , US , US military , West Philippine Sea