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PH, US to hold war games off Panatag

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Panatag shoal

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines and the United States will hold joint naval exercises off Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal), a reef in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) claimed by both the Philippines and China and site of a maritime standoff between the two countries that lasted more than two months last year.

But the Philippines and the US do not expect China to raise its hackles, as the joint maneuvers will be held in waters between Panatag Shoal (also known as Bajo de Masinloc) and the Luzon mainland, about 108 kilometers east of the disputed reef.

That is “very far” from Panatag Shoal, about the distance between Manila and Tarlac, so China cannot view it as an act of “intimidation,” said Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, spokesperson for the Philippine Navy.

Moreover, holding the naval exercises off northern Luzon had been planned long before the Philippines’ standoff with China at the reef last year, Fabic said.

The joint naval maneuvers will be held from June 27 to July 2.

Standoff continues

Technically, the Philippines and China are still in a standoff in the area. Philippine vessels withdrew at the height of a typhoon in mid-June last year to ease tensions at the shoal.

But the Chinese ships never left the area, cordoning off the mouth of the shoal’s lagoon to prevent entry of fishing boats from other countries.

As it has no capability to drive off the Chinese vessels by force, the Philippines took the dispute to the United Nations in January for arbitration.

The Philippines and China also have rival claims in the Spratly archipelago, a scattering of islets, reefs and atolls in the middle of the West Philippine Sea believed to be sitting atop vast energy resources.

Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan also claim parts of the Spratlys in rivalry with China, which claims nearly all of the sea as its territory.

Called Cooperation Afloat Readiness Training (Carat), the naval maneuvers are a “five-year planned exercise” with the US Navy that began in 2011 and goes around the different naval forces commands in the country, Fabic said.

It was just a coincidence that Carat will be held this year in northern Luzon near Panatag Shoal, he added.

Carat was held in the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao in Davao last year. It will be in the Naval Forces West in Palawan next year and in the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao in Davao in 2015, he said.

Exercises with allies

The US Pacific Fleet conducts Carat with the armed forces of its allies in the Asia-Pacific region, such as Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, East Timor and the Philippines.

“This aims to enhance the Philippine Navy and US Navy capabilities in naval operations through exchanges and tactical exercises,” Fabic said.

The exchanges, he said, include communications, naval surface operations, counterterrorism and maritime security operations, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

Taking part in the naval exercise are an unspecified number of Philippine and US naval vessels, Marine companies, the Philippine Naval Special Operations Group, Naval Construction Brigade or the Sea Bees Engineers and Philippine Coast Guard vessels, aircraft and diving and special operations teams.


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Tags: Bajo de Masinloc , Panatag Shoal , Philippines-United States bilateral ties , Scarborough Shoal , South China Sea , West Philippine Sea

  • JC

    For me hindi masama na andyan muna ang US carrying their military hardware until such time na nakapagpundar na tayo ng sarili natin.

  • andybug

    malaki ang maitutulong ng joint naval exercises kapag nagkataon dahil well equipped ang US, madadagdagan pa ang ating kapabilidad sa pagprotekta sa ating karagatan at teritoryo.

    • Aldo Balboa

      Mas maganda kung aprobahan ng senate at congress na bigyan ng 100 bilyon budget ang DND.

  • valsore

    What can we do to regain Panatag Island?

    • NaUnsa

      Create a 200+ mile per hour giant tornado using the HAARP or a weather modification technology at Panatag Shoal to suck all those chinese poachers and ships and dropping them back to china’s nuclear site for double edge sword destruction. What else?

      • Aldo Balboa

        China is mad to Philippines because they cannot get the gold, silver, aluminum, iron etc out to Philippines. That means marami noon sa mga politician at government employee na tumatanggap ng lagay. Isa ang Pilipinas kumbakit yumayaman ang China kasi ang mga mineral na nakukuha sa Pinas kapag ibinenta sa world stock market ay bilyon dollar ang halaga.

    • NaUnsa

      Create millions of 1 mile diameter concave mirror to bounce the lethal sun rays and to completely melt those chinese ships at Panatag Shoal like a plastic in just few seconds or obliterate their satellites in the space. This can also be use as nuclear shields against their last hopeless resort. We can drop all their 5th generation fighter jets or all sorts of their mighty wings like multitudes of mosquitoes dropping dead to the ground in the midst of thick lethal smokes from burnt Cadena de Amor leaves. I used to do this during my childhood memories to kill all kinds of Intsikwakang and it works! After all, the chinese or intsikwakang are no different than the nuisance insects that relentlessly trespassing our personal space. Hey! I just reveal their weaknesses! LOL!

    • teevenpolk

      So easy! Engaged with China’s navy with the help of Uncle Sam! That’s the only way to reclaimed what once you had stolen from them….

      • stupid chink

        Read history books and not you plate matsr

  • joboni96

    nalulong na naman tayo
    sa mga conspiracy ng imperyalista

    1. to get new u.s. bases in the philippines
    under vfa and commercial outsourcing covers

    2. to enhance imperialist control of pilipino government and military
    through collaborators

    3. prepare flash point for imperialist – intsik switik war
    like the u.s. embargoes on japan prior to ww2

    ipapahamak na naman tayo ng imperyalista

    sa bagong gerra nila sa hegemonistang intsik switik
    to erase trillions of imperialist debt to the hegemonist

    tulad noong
    u.s. – kastila war > libong pilipino patay sa moromoro, after pilipino victory already
    u.s. – pilipino war > 1+ million pilipinos dead
    u.s. – japan war ww2 > 1+ million pilipinos dead na naman

    ang solusyon
    astig pro pilipino defense posture versus imperialist and hegemonist

    hindi paghahalik sa anemic na pwet ng imperyalista

    • BIGButo

      Oh no more crazy talk from a crazy man. You need to take your head to a mental health doctor. You are a very sick leftis that needs to have your brain fixed!

    • Hendot2012

      Aktibista komunista pumunta sa North Korea!

    • m1600

      ASo NG MGA KOMUNISTA makapili ka ng mg intsik!!!!

    • stupid chink

      badinb

    • BIGButo

      More crazy talk. Mentally sick! Need help

  • disqusted0fu

    Hope the Aquino administration would show the same efforts in fighting for the much larger and richer land Sabah. Plus that is geographically more worth fighting for anyway. But maybe China is not giving any offer to the Aquino administration like what Malaysia did

  • isangbansa

    gawin na don mismo sa panatag shoal, sa pinas nga yun di ba

  • NaUnsa

    We can defeat the chinese military might by creating millions of 1 mile diameter concave mirror to bounce the lethal sun rays and to completely melt those chinese ships at Panatag Shoal like a plastic in just few seconds or obliterate their satellites in the space. This can also be use as nuclear shields against their last hopeless resort. We can drop all their 5th generation fighter jets or all sorts of their mighty wings like multitudes of mosquitoes dropping dead to the ground in the midst of thick lethal smokes from burnt Cadena de Amor leaves. I used to do this during my childhood memories to kill all kinds of Intsikwakang and it works! After all, the chinese or intsikwakang are no different than the nuisance insects that relentlessly trespassing our personal space. Hey! I just reveal their weaknesses! LOL!

    Instead of spending millions of USD to acquire second hand warships, why not explore our own unique innovations or inventions for our military defense!

    • Olibo

      I think a test was done by ‘Mythbuster’ TV program in the US if that idea is plausible but the outcome failed to prove its effect. No other than Obama himself asked the program to feature medieval time myth that mirror was used as weapon to destroy attacking ships. It was busted.

  • China_Lee

    Philippines is small country but its people are intelligent. You cannot push Philippines away. The law and history is on his sides. How strong you are, how old your civilization is, if you go against the legal norms of civilized world you’ll be defeated not by arms or war but by words of world’s order.

    • teevenpolk

      Lol! If your people were such intelligent as you claimed to be …you’ll country will not be in this dire situation!

      • China_Lee

        So you mean China is a country of idiot and stupid? Lol… China is always in awkward situation. Don’t you know that?

  • Olibo

    Why everytime we do something that may offend the Chinese gov’t Sec Gazmin explains it has nothing to do with the territorial disputes? While in fact, it has. We treat China like idiots ( in law yes) or ‘”Nuno sa Punso” makikiraan po kami Apo”‘, before we execute lawful act.

  • teevenpolk

    China says…you can play as long as you want . provided, not inside Huangyan island!
    hehehe ….



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