Pres. Aquino: Philippine planes to fly airlanes over South China Sea

Chinese military drove away US Navy plane

1774 map of the Philippine Islands depicting Scarborough Shoal as Panacot Shoal (C. C. Attribution-ShareAlike License)

Insisting it had sovereign rights to waters, maritime structures and airspace above the South China Sea, the Chinese military on Friday, May 22, 2015,  drove away with radio warnings a US Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane from the airspace above the disputed land area. Relative to this recent move above, China had manifested increasingly bullying actions to assert its claims, had spawned so much alarm in recent years.

Philippine reaction

Pres. Aquino said on Monday, May 25, 2015 that Philippine aircrafts both military and commercial will fly over the contested areas in the South China Sea even with the Chinese warnings over the airspace. The President told reporters: “We will still fly the routes that we fly based on the international law from the various conventions we entered into.”

South China Sea area is China

China is doing land reclamation works in the Spratlys, located near Vietnam and the Philippines, building airstrips and other military facilities. The Spratlys, about a thousand kilometres (620 miles) from China, are one of the most important archipelagos in the sea.

To defend

Aquino said the Philippines would not give up its territory to China, asserting, “We will still exercise our rights over our exclusive economic zone. Bottom line is, it has to be clear, we will defend our rights to the best of our abilities.” Aquino said the Philippines was working on the issue with the United States, but declined to elaborate.

Other claimants

Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to parts of the South China Sea.

Military and commercial planes still to use contested airspace

Military planes have flown over the sea, according to Philippine Air Force spokesman Colonel Enrico Canaya, and local carriers have likewise flown over parts of the considered international airlanes, according to the Philippie Civil Aviation Authority.

Close Encounters

According to (Wall Street Journal) in its online report dated May 12, 2015, U.S. ships and aircraft have had close encounters with Chinese counterparts, troubles stemming over China’s territorial claims, to wit:

  • A Chinese fighter intercepted a US Navy maritime patrol aircraft that was flying in international airspace about 135 miles east of Hainan Island. This move made in Aug. 2014 was considered dangerous by the US officials.
  • Two B-52 bombers were flown over disputed islands in the East China Sea by the U.S. on Nov. 2013 to contest Beijing’s air identification zone.
  • The Cowpens, a US Navy cruiser, located some distance from China’s aircraft carrier in the South China sea was forced to change course to avoid a collision on Dec. 2013 because of a Chinese ship that was blocking the way.
  • A U.S. Navy surveillance ship in the South China Sea in a disputed area was force to take evasive steps when on March 2009 Chinese government and military ships cordoned it.  Next day the US Navy ship returned protected by a guided missile destroyer.
  • Chinese on May 2003 used fishing boats to do collision movement on the same U.S. Navy survey ship that figured in the 2001 incident, resulting in damage.
  • A U.S. Navy electronic surveillance aircraft near China’s Hainan Island in the South China Sea was force to make an emergency landing on April 2001, after a Chinese fighter collides with it.
  • China demands a U.S. Navy survey ship out of waters in the Yellow Sea on March 2001, claiming a violation of its exclusive economic zone. The U.S. made representation to dispute the claim, and the ship returned later to the Yellow Sea with an armed escort.




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