Another Chinese Navy ship spotted in West PH Sea during Balikatan

Another Chinese Navy ship spotted in West PH Sea during Balikatan

By: - Reporter / @FArgosinoINQ
/ 01:10 PM April 28, 2024

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Two Chinese Navy vessels were observed watching while US and Philippine troops conducted joint patrols in the West Philippine Sea last Friday, February 9, Navy spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad reveals during a press conference at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, on  Tuesday, February 13, 2024. INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — Another Chinese Navy ship was spotted some 7 to 8 nautical miles (nm) from vessels of the Philippines and United States conducting Balikatan exercises near northern Palawan on Sunday morning, an official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.

Captain Ariel Coloma, the AFP Western Command spokesperson, said People’s Liberation Army Navy (Plan) vessel number 578 was spotted near US and PH ships “somewhere in San Vicente, Palawan.”

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“Pero malayo, mga 7 to 8 miles away from the group, itong 578. […] As of now wala akong idea e but may presence sila dun ngayon.” Coloma told reporters.

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(They are about 7 to 8 miles from the group… this Plan vessel No. 578. As of now, I have no idea why they are present there.)

The Chinese ship’s presence was monitored a day after Plan vessel No. 793 was spotted “in the vicinity of Balikatan ships conducting multilateral maritime exercises, as reported by Coloma on Saturday evening.

But Coloma revealed on Sunday that this vessel was no longer visible near the Balikatan ships.

Despite these, the AFP official said that they are “in control of the situation,” and the presence of Chinese Navy ships has not interrupted their exercises.

“Based sa information ng mga barko natin, even yesterday wala namang nabangit na communication challenges […] as per report kahapon wala namang anything na untoward sir na nangyari except for their presence there,” Coloma revealed.

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(Based on our ships’ information, no communication challenges were mentioned even yesterday. As per yesterday, no untoward incident happened except that we monitored their presence.)

“Tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang mga training events na ginagawa nila. in fact they are preparing now for yung photo exercise with our allied counterparts at saka search and rescue simulation drills,” he added.

(Traning events are still ongoing within the area. They are now preparing for the photo exercise with our allied counterparts and the search and rescue simulation drills.)

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This year’s “Balikatan” (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercise, or the annual war games between the US military and the AFP, began last April 22. Balikatan’s 39th iteration will last until May 10, with the participation of approximately 16,000 military personnel, including contingents from the Australian Defense Force and the French Navy.

For comprehensive coverage, in-depth analysis, and the latest updates on the West Philippine Sea issue, visit our special site here. Stay informed with articles, videos, and expert opinions.

TAGS: Balikatan, China, Philippines, South China Sea, West Philippine Sea

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