News / Asia

Philippines Considering Options to Monitor South China Sea

Philippine President Benigno Aquino gestures during an interview with Reuters at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, July 2, 2012.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino gestures during an interview with Reuters at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, July 2, 2012.
Simone Orendain
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines says it is considering several options to keep watch over disputed areas in the South China Sea, including enlisting the aid of U.S. military spy planes. President Benigno Aquino raised the idea days before a major regional security summit where the United States and China have clashed in the past. 

President Aquino first remarked Monday to the Reuters news agency that the Philippines “might be requesting over-flights” of the South China Sea by U.S. military spy planes.

Presidential Communications Secretary Ramon Carandang stressed on state-run television Tuesday there has not yet been a decision on the matter, and that the primary responsibility for monitoring remains with the Philippine government. 

“Let me add also, that these are — if, if they happen at all — they are surveillance flights," he said. "They’re not meant to be provocative. They’re merely meant to monitor our territory. There’s no offensive capability here so this should not be viewed as a provocative statement.”

Carandang said the nation is also considering the purchase of new vessels to augment its tiny naval fleet.

A China Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday Beijing hopes the Philippines will stop making provocative statements regarding the maritime dispute.  

Spokesman Liu Weimin said, “It is the hope of the Chinese side that peace and stability can be maintained in [the] Asia Pacific region, and parties concerned do things conducive to regional peace and stability.”

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei all claim portions of the sea adjacent to their coasts, while China and Taiwan claim practically the entire sea, a crucial navigation route which is potentially rich in oil and gas.  

Carl Thayer, a Southeast Asia securities expert at the University of New South Wales says right now, China would see anything related to U.S. military activity in the disputed waters as a provocation.  

However, Thayer says he expects the United States will try to calm the situation, especially with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations  convening for a major security summit this week.

“The U.S. is going to try to sell… its willingness to cooperate with China, so any action with the Philippines has to be calibrated so that Southeast Asia sees the U.S. as trying to work with China rather than trying to create more problems for it,” he said.

Thayer says Manila has less provocative options for monitoring the waterway, including the use of radar to observe and detect foreign ships. He also likes the use of infra-red to pick up movement. Thayer says this would require a major investment in new hardware, possibly from the United States, which would put the U.S. in a more passive role as a seller.

The Philippines and the United States have a mutual defense treaty, yet the U.S. has refused to take a position on the territorial disputes. Under the treaty, the Philippines is upgrading its minimal military assets with more modern equipment at discounted prices. It has also opened its ports to more frequent stops by U.S. vessels, which once maintained a major naval base at Subic Bay.  

At the 2010 ASEAN security summit, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton angered China by saying the disputes should be handled on a multilateral basis. China has steadfastly favored one-on-one talks with the claimant countries.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: TSTN from: Cambodia
July 12, 2012 1:25 AM
The South China Sea region was the world most complicated disputed sea after the under-jurisdiction EEZ claimed by each sovereign state. Peaceful solution that can be acceptable to all concerned countries will take time, so a join critical scientific works need to be done instead of military confrontation. Scientific research result will contribute to peaceful and collaborative talk among the countries in the region.

by: Downeast from: Maine
July 11, 2012 10:35 PM
It is vital that China's maritime neighbors maintain a firm but fair posture towards this emerging power. Boundaries must be respected, and disputes settled through discussion and compromise. The U.S. must step up and meet its responsibilities to its allies in the region, in particular the Phillipines, Australia, and Japan. The middle ground between hard and soft is what's required. The Chinese, with their Confucian heritage, should understand and appreciate the wisdom of that approach.

by: riano from: indonesia
July 04, 2012 6:53 AM
ASEAN must control this area as leader and to talks with China and US continue to stability this region,not nation by nation.

by: Mahesh from: USA
July 03, 2012 9:54 PM
Philippines should consider options to rapidly reduce its birth rate instead of screaming hysterically about South China Sea.
Japan with 127 million people, produces 1.1 million births, While Philippines with 100 million people produces 2.5 million births.
Western countries are deep in debt and cannot afford Billions in foreign Aid to Philippines any longer. When will Philippines adopt IUDs and other contraceptives and stop breeding so irresponsibly.

by: Great opportunities from: US
July 03, 2012 2:33 PM
What a great opportunity for the US to spend more money! It's a step closer to another war to spread democracy and regime change. Just wonder if the US goes bankrupt first or the regime change happens first.
In Response

by: Anonymous
July 04, 2012 8:46 AM
Make up your mind on Nov.6th,2012

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs