Chinese vessels beef up patrols in West Phl Sea
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - December 15, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Chinese surveillance ships and missile cruisers have increased the frequency of their maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), a senior maritime security official said yesterday.

This came after a Chinese naval vessel came dangerously close to a US warship during a tense incident in the area last week.

The USS Cowpens, a guided missile cruiser, was forced to maneuver to avoid a collision with the Chinese ship that had crossed directly in front of it and halted, according to naval officers and defense officials.

China’s amphibious dock ship came less than 500 meters from the American warship, a defense official said.

“This encounter happened in international waters in the South China Sea on Dec. 5,” said the defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Eventually, effective bridge-to-bridge communication occurred between the US and Chinese crews, and both vessels maneuvered to ensure safe passage,” the official said.

The official said the Cowpens had been “in the vicinity” of China’s new aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, when the incident occurred.

This was apparently on the heels of China’s aggressive move in pushing its encompassing maritime claim over the vast South China Sea, a major shipping lane connecting the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

“Maybe because of the presence of their aircraft carrier in the region,” said the Filipino security official.

There were reports that the Chinese frigate tried to intercept and stop USS Cowpens from monitoring Liaoning.

He said the increased Chinese presence within the country’s territorial waters may be due to China’s deployment for training exercise of its lone aircraft carrier Liaoning in the South China Sea. Beijing dispatched Liaoning to the region escorted by its destroyers and frigates on Dec. 3.

“They have increased the frequency of their maritime patrols that even extended toward the territorial waters of Malaysia,” the official said.

Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon said fishermen also noticed the increasing presence of Chinese surveillance ships and frigates in the waters near Kalayaan Group of Islands, as well as near the Hasa-Hasa (Half Moon) Shoal.

In July last year, a patrolling Chinese frigate got stuck at Hasa-Hasa Shoal, an area only 60 nautical miles from Palawan. The missile cruiser was immediately removed by five responding Chinese vessels.

 

CHINA CHINESE HALF MOON HASA-HASA SHOAL IN JULY INDIAN OCEAN AND THE PACIFIC OCEAN KALAYAAN GROUP OF ISLANDS KALAYAAN MAYOR EUGENIO BITO LIAONING SOUTH CHINA SEA
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with