Joint naval and air patrols in the South China Sea by the Philippines and the United States military began today. This was announced by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., quoted by Reuters.
He described the move as a “significant initiative”.
The news comes amid a rapid strengthening of ties between the two allied countries under the defense treaty, including a decision to double the number of Philippine bases available to the US military.
“This significant initiative is proof of our commitment to strengthen the interoperability of our armed forces in the conduct of sea and air patrols,” Marcos wrote on the X social network.
Patrolling will take place off Mavulis Island, which is the northernmost point of the Philippines, located about 100 km from Taiwan.
The US is deploying four new military bases in the Philippines
Their total number in the regional becomes nine
A day earlier, Marcos stated at a forum in Hawaii that the situation in the South China Sea has become “scarier than before”as the Chinese military moves closer and closer to the Philippine coastline.
The patrols are likely to irritate Chinawho warned the Philippines against doing activities with the US as it could inflame tensions in the region.
Relations between China and the Philippines have been strained under the island nation’s current president, who has stepped up his complaints about China’s “aggressive” behavior while resumed strong relations with the Philippines’ only treaty ally, the United States.
Joint sea and air patrols will begin in the area off the Batanes Islands and move westward to the South China Sea.
On the Philippine side, three warships, two FA-50 light combat aircraft and an A-29B Super Tucano light attack aircraft will participate. and the United States will mobilize a littoral combat ship and a P9-A maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.
The Philippines and the United States are conducting joint navigation in the South China Sea
The US-Philippines cooperation comes at a time of heightened tensions between Manila and Pequi