More countries eye joint patrols with Philippines

Ghio Ong - The Philippine Star
More countries eye joint patrols with Philippines
Filipino fishermen fetch MV Kapitan Felix Oca at a designated rendezvous point in the West Philippine Sea on December 11, 2023.
Michael Varcas / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is firm on its stand in asserting Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea over China, as the former engages with more countries for further capacity-building.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) last Thursday by Global Times, “China’s national English language newspaper, under the People’s Daily,” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian reacted to a “French plan to hold joint patrols with the Philippines in the South China Sea and a joint drill between the Philippines and India in the region.”

“The China-Philippines maritime dispute is an issue between the two countries, and no third party has any right to interfere,” Wu said.

In response, PCG Commodore Jay Tarriela defended the Philippines’ plans to involve other countries in military capacity-building.

“By engaging in military collaborations with other countries that support the rules-based order, the Philippines can not only prevent China’s domination, but also deter its illegal bullying and aggressive behavior,” Tarriela wrote on X.

“France’s intention to conduct joint patrols not only demonstrates its support for the Philippines, but also reinforces our claim that an increasing number of states believe in our legal backing in asserting sovereignty and sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea compared with the baseless 10-dash line claim of (China),” he added.

In a separate statement, PCG Commandant Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan said the agency “recognized the significance of stronger partnerships with foreign counterparts, including the United States, Japan, Australia, Republic of Korea and Germany, in developing the PCG and becoming an organization of world-class guardians of the sea.”

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