âMalaysia, Vietnam encroaching on Philippine EEZ tooâ
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said in Filipino, “Many people don’t know that Malaysia and Vietnam occupy more islands in the West Philippine Sea than China. China is just occupying larger islands and they have (built) military installations.”
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‘Malaysia, Vietnam encroaching on Philippine EEZ too’
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - August 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said it’s not only China that is encroaching on the 200-mile exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, because Malaysia and Vietnam are encroaching too.

Lorenzana made this statement Tuesday night in response to a question raised by Iloilo Rep. Raul Tupas in the course of the House appropriations committee hearing on the defense-military budget for next year.

Tupas asked Lorenzana if he thought the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea has become a “multi-country” conflict.

“Yes, in fact, several countries already have features in our EEZ. Vietnam has 11, we have nine, Malaysia has one, and China has three,” the defense secretary said.

He said except for China, “which has made three reefs into artificial islands, all the others occupy islands that are above water and with vegetation.”

“So yes, it’s a multi-nation problem,” he said. Lorenzana’s statements seemed to support the assertion Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano made in a radio interview last week.

Cayetano said in Filipino, “Many people don’t know that Malaysia and Vietnam occupy more islands in the West Philippine Sea than China. China is just occupying larger islands and they have (built) military installations.”

Lorenzana had admitted the country has limited capability to respond to foreign intrusions.

Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad also admitted the Philippine Navy has yet to compensate for its shortcomings in monitoring intruding foreign vessels.

Empedrad stressed the Navy’s current firepower might not even match those of the intruder.

Empedrad also revealed a Chinese frigate has shadowed a Navy corvette and her escort ship while in transit back to the Philippines from South Korea.

While the Chinese warship kept its distance, it continuously tailed BRP Conrado Yap and BRP Davao del Sur for three days from Taiwan Strait to the country’s territorial waters in Northern Luzon.

“The shadowing happened from Aug. 14 to 16,” he said.

Empedrad said the Navy had coordinated with concerned parties about the voyage along Taiwan Strait of its two vessels due to the prevailing weather system in the Pacific – With Jaime Laude

MALAYSIA VIETNAM WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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