Chinese warships seen tailing PH, France, US fleet in WPS drills

2 Chinese warships seen tailing PH, France, US fleet in WPS drills

/ 02:30 PM April 29, 2024

Philippines, US, France start joint patrols in West PH Sea

FS Vendemiaire, USS Harpers Ferry, and BRP Ramon Alcaraz conducts “division tactics” during the multilateral aritime exercise which kicked Thursday. Photo taken from BRP Davao Del Sur. PHOTO FROM THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES

MANILA, Philippines — Two Chinese warships on Monday were seen tailing the naval fleet of the Philippines, France and the United States as their four-day maritime drills in the West Philippine Sea near completion.

People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) warships with bow numbers 793 and 167 were spotted about four to five miles away from the trilateral fleet as of 9:00 a.m., according to Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Command spokesperson Capt. Ariel Coloma.

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“The monitoring and reporting of the sightings is continuous,” Coloma told reporters in a text message.

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A number of Chinese navy vessels were also sighted in previous days of the drills, which began on April 25.

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

On Sunday, PLAN naval craft with vessel number 578 was spotted near US and Philippine ships “somewhere in San Vicente, Palawan; while on Saturday, another PLAN vessel with bow number 793 was also spotted tailing the naval fleet consisting of BRP Ramon Alcaraz and BRP Davao del Sur, as well as French frigate Vendémiaire and the United States Ship (USS) Harpers Ferry.

While such sightings are expected, the Chinese vessels are not seen to interfere with the drills, according to Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad, Navy spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea.

READ: Balikatan drills to continue despite Chinese navy presence–PCG

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“Historically the illegal, unprovoked, uncalled for actions of China will only be to [the] Philippines,” Trinidad said in a press conference last Tuesday.

Chinese vessels regularly conduct what the Philippine government deem to be dangerous actions like the use of water cannon and even military grade lasers against Filipino vessels conducting maritime missions in the West Philippine Sea.

Such actions are in line with Beijing’s assertion of sovereignty in the entire South China Sea — including most of the West Philippine Sea — despite the July 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling that effectively invalidated its claims based on a case filed by Manila in 2013.

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TAGS: Balikatan, China, West Philippine Sea

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