Philippines deploys aircraft as China ships sparks conflict

The Philippines Air force has been deployed on Monday to patrol a fleet of Chinese vessels in the South China Sea.

The Philippines Air force has been deployed on Monday to patrol a fleet of Chinese vessels in the South China Sea. Picture: Pexels

CAPE TOWN, March 29 (ANA) – The Philippines has begun deploying its air force on Monday to patrol disputed territories in the South China Sea where it claims a fleet of Chinese vessels are preparing for another blockade.

The Philippines defence chief says that its air force has been doing regular patrols of the contested areas near the disputed Whitsun Reef, close to the disputed Spratly Islands.

The Hindu Times writes that the latest dispute is because about 200 Chinese fishing vessels, which have refused to withdraw from the reef, are in close range of Manila’s exclusive economic zone.

The Philippine foreign ministers have repeatedly called on Beijing to accept the 2016 arbitration decision that recognised numerous allegations.

According to Al Jazeera, the Taiwanese military also says its air force dispatched missiles “to identify any Chinese military aircraft movements” in the defence identification zone’s southwestern area.

Taiwan’s ministry of national defence announced that it had deployed missiles into the southwestern part of the defence identification zone to “maintain” the island’s defence.

Philippine defence secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the country’s military would conduct “navigation activities” and defend Philippine fishing interests in the South China Sea.

The recent deployment of the Chinese air force near Taiwan’s border isles was the furthest it has been allowed to stray since it began officially revealing almost regular flights over the waters near Taiwan in the South China Sea last year, Al Jazeera reports.

Recent military action by China threatens the peace in Taiwan’s vicinity, claiming the island as its own.

According to the Hindu Times, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson says the president mentioned the ruling when he met with the Chinese ambassador recently.

Beijing has announced that it would not accept the arbitration, justifying its sovereignty over the South China Sea.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay

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