Manila officials said two Chinese fighter jets were observed “circling” a Philippine plane on patrol with Australia in the South China Sea, but did not cause any untoward incident.
Philippine and Australian militaries on Sunday conducted a second day of naval and air exercises in the Southeast Asian country’s exclusive economic zone, days after Manila conducted patrols with the United States.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea, including portions claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei, and it serves as a pipeline for more than $3 trillion in annual ship commerce. There is.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration said in 2016 that China’s claims had no legal basis.
The Philippines has stepped up efforts to counter China’s “aggressive activities” in the South China Sea, which has also become a source of tension between China and the United States over naval operations.
China has accused the Philippines of stirring up trouble by mobilizing “foreign troops” to patrol the South China Sea.
“According to reports received, two Chinese fighter jets were observed circling a Philippine A-29B Super Tucano near Fubo Reef in the West Philippine Sea,” said Xerxes Trinidad, head of the Philippine military public relations office. It has been confirmed.”
The West Philippine Sea is Manila’s term for the waters of the South China Sea that are within Manila’s exclusive economic zone.
According to the Trinidad government, the Chinese aircraft continued its flight path without incident.
Philippine military chief Romeo Browner said his country is well within its rights to conduct joint patrols with allies to promote a “rules-based international order.”
Two Philippine Navy ships, five Philippine surveillance aircraft, and the Australian frigate Toowoomba and P8-A maritime surveillance aircraft participated in the joint exercise.
Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles said the patrol represented a practical implementation of the strategic partnership signed in September between the two countries.
https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/conflict/chinese-fighter-jets-orbit-philippine-patrol-aircraft-c-12689550 Chinese fighter jet “orbits” Philippine patrol plane