PH not part of US, Japan, India maneuvers | Global News
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PH not part of US, Japan, India maneuvers

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 02:52 AM March 07, 2016

THE PHILIPPINES won’t take part in joint naval exercises planned by the United States, Japan and India in waters close to the South China Sea, Malacañang said Sunday.

Asked about the implications of such exercises amid regional tensions and China’s likely response, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Philippines was not a party to the maneuvers by the three navies.

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“The reported joint naval exercises near the South China Sea … do not involve the Philippines in any way,” he said.

“It will thus be speculative (to comment) on its possible impact on concerns regarding the South China Sea,” Coloma added.

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According to US media reports, Washington, New Delhi and Tokyo will stage the exercises later this year as part of an annual event between the US and Indian navies that has expanded to include Japan.

US media described the US-Japan-India exercises as a sign of closer cooperation amid concerns about China’s military ambitions in the South China Sea.

Binding code

China claims almost the entire sea within its so-called 9-dash line—its disputed territory as delineated by nine dashes on ancient maps—while the Philippines and its neighbors have overlapping claims.

Coloma said the Philippines’ primary concern would be “deterrence against aggressive actions.”

“The Philippines believes regional stability is achieved when the rule of law is upheld. Hence, we have joined cause with Asean in advocating the adoption of a legally binding Code of Conduct on the South China Sea,” he said.

Asean is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to which the Philippines belongs.

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In 2013, Manila initiated arbitration proceedings in the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration after China refused to withdraw its ships from the disputed Panatag Shoal, internationally called Scarborough Shoal.

A ruling by the UN tribunal is expected soon. China has refused to participate in the process.

China has accused the Philippines of “political provocation” in seeking international arbitration over territorial claims in the South China Sea.

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