US planes likely to assist in future resupply missions, says AFP spokesperson
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday (Oct. 7) rejected Chinese claims over features in the South China Sea following a near collision between Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel and a Chinese Coast Guard Ship, which occurred on Wednesday (Oct. 4) near the Second Thomas Shoal.
AFP Spokesperson Colonel Medel Aguilar said that China’s claims to the region have already been recognized as invalid. The 2016 ruling by the Hague on the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea proved that the Second Thomas Shaol is territory of the Philippines, said Aguilar, as reported by PNA.
Tensions between the two countries have increased in the past few months over China’s illegal claims regarding the Second Thomas Shoal, and missions conducted by the Philippines to regularly resupply marines stationed on the grounded ship, the BRP Sierra Madre.
The rejection of China’s claims by the AFP follows earlier remarks from the PCG on Friday (Oct. 6) condemning the behavior of the CCG, which has been “violating international law.” Following the incident, which was recorded by the Associated Press, the CCG issued a statement claiming that China has “indisputable sovereignty” over the region.
In addition to rejecting these claims, Aguilar noted that AFP forces in the South China Sea have high morale and are determined to protect the interests of the country from China’s aggressive behavior and threats.
During the most recent resupply mission for troops on the BRP Sierra Madre, it was reported that a foreign surveillance aircraft was spotted overhead, and assumed to be coordinating with the Philippine forces, per GMA.
Although the aircraft was not identified, is it widely thought to belong to the US Navy. When asked about the presence of foreign aircraft, AFP spokesperson Aguilar said that he expects US aircraft to accompany PCG vessels on future resupply missions because the US and Philippines “have a mutual defense treaty.”
Source : Taiwan News