Tensions for China amid Philippine and U.S. joint military patrols
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced the launch of joint maritime and air patrols with the United States military in the South China Sea, describing it as a “significant initiative.” This move follows a strengthening of ties between the two defense treaty allies, nearly doubling the number of Philippine bases accessible to the US military.
“This significant initiative is a testament to our commitment to bolster the interoperability of our military forces in conducting maritime and air patrols,” Marcos wrote on social media platform X.
The joint patrols took place near Taiwan, raising tensions with China. Security engagements between the two nations have increased this year, including their largest-ever joint military drill in April.
President Marcos emphasized enhancing military interoperability for maritime and air patrols. The patrols would occur off the island of Mavulis, the northernmost point of the Philippines, about 100km off Taiwan.
Increasingly dire situation in the South China Sea
The announcement followed President Marcos’s statement about the increasingly dire situation in the South China Sea, with China’s military presence moving closer to the Philippine coastline. China claims most of the South China Sea through a “nine-dash line,” encroaching on the exclusive economic zones of other claimants.
In the South China Sea, China claims much of the area based on a “nine-dash line” that extends 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) south of its mainland, cutting through the Exclusive Economic Zones of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
Despite Manila’s previously strained relationship with the US and closer ties to China, President Marcos has rekindled the Philippines’ alliance with the United States. Tensions with China have escalated, with repeated standoffs in disputed waters.
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The joint maritime and air patrols will begin near the Batanes islands and head west to the South China Sea. The Philippines will deploy three navy vessels, two FA-50 light combat aircraft, and an A-29B Super Tucano light attack plane, while the United States will mobilize a littoral combat ship and a P9-A maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.