Balikatan to continue despite presence of Chinese navy ships--PCG

Balikatan drills to continue despite Chinese navy presence–PCG

/ 11:25 AM April 29, 2024

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A Chinese navy ship is seen sailing in the South China Sea on October 4, 2023. REUTERS FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PGC) on Monday downplayed the presence of a Chinese navy ship in the West Philippine Sea during Balikatan maritime drills, calling it China’s mere strategy to “make their presence felt” in the area.

“Ang intensyon lang ng People’s Republic of China dito ay magpapansin. Sabihin nila na nandyan sila sa area, but definitely hindi naman natin ihihinto ito dahil nandyan sila,” said PCG Spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela in an interview over Radyo 630.


(China’s only intention is to make their presence known. They want to say that they are in the area, but definitely, we will not stop our drills because they are there.)


READ: Another Chinese Navy ship spotted in West PH Sea during Balikatan

Tarriela said the PCG and its allies would “keep on ignoring” the Chinese navy ship’s presence.

“It won’t prevent the Balikatan exercise and our allies [from] carrying out these kinds of exercise[s] with us,” he added.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command Spokesperson Captain Ariel Coloma said on Sunday that a Chinese navy ship was spotted about 7 to 8 nautical miles from the United States and Philippine vessels holding Balikatan exercises near northern Palawan on April 28.

READ: 2 Chinese Navy ships spotted as US, PH make joint patrols in West PH Sea


However, it was not the first time a Chinese vessel had been spotted while the Philippines conducted maritime exercises.

Navy Spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad, said  People’s Liberation Army Navy ships appeared to have monitored the maritime cooperative activity between Manila and Washington on February 13.

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Chinese vessels’ continued presence in the West Philippine Sea is in line with its assertion of sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, including most of the western section of Manila’s exclusive economic zone.

In 2013, the Philippines challenged China’s assertions before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands.  It ruled overwhelmingly in favor of the Philippines in 2016. Despite this ruling, Chinese maritime assets continue to swarm and assert aggression in the territory.

TAGS: Balikatan, China, military drills, Philippines

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