The Philippines' newest warship, which sailed on Tuesday into Manila Bay after a 14,679-kilometer voyage from the United States, was hailed by President Benigno Aquino III as a symbol of the country's determination to defend its claims in the disputed East Sea. "This ship symbolizes our newly acquired ability to guard, protect, and if necessary, fight for the interests of our country," the President said. The 3,390-ton, 115-meter Gregorio del Pilar, a decommissioned US Coast Guard vessel, is 46 years old. It replaces a World War II-era destroyer as the country's flagship vessel. Mr. Aquino said the "new" flagship vessel would help protect the country's exclusive economic zone and its oil and gas exploration activities in the contested sea. Many of those areas are claimed by China, which insists it has sovereign rights to almost all of the disputed territory, even waters approaching the coasts of Southeast Asian countries. Other parts of the East Sea are believed to be rich in oil … [Read more...] about Philippines: Ship symbol of defense
Philippine military power
VietNamNet Bridge - Amid rising tensions with China over the hotly-contested East Sea, President Benigno Aquino III announced that the Philippines was ready to defend its territory by acquiring more weapons. President Benigno Aquino III "We do not wish to increase tensions with anyone, but we must let the world know that we are ready to protect what is ours," Mr Aquino said in his State of the Nation Address, drawing loud applause at the packed House of Representatives on July 25.Mr Aquino did not mention China, which claims the entire East Sea and has been accused by both the Philippines and Vietnam of becoming increasingly aggressive in staking its claims to the area. But the President clearly referred to Asia's rising military power when he mentioned Recto Bank - internationally known as the Reed Bank - as clearly belonging to the Philippines as a popular downtown Manila street bears the same name. "There was a time when we couldn't appropriately respond to threats in our own … [Read more...] about Philippines to buy more arms to defend its territory
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said Sunday that his government has reached a preliminary peace agreement with the nation's largest Muslim rebel group in a major breakthrough toward ending a decades-long insurgency in the country's south. Aquino described the deal in a nationally televised announcement as a "framework agreement" — a road map for establishing a new autonomous region to be administered by minority Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation's south. It follows marathon negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Malaysia, which is brokering the talks. … [Read more...] about Philippines, Muslim rebels agree on peace pact
The following analysis by Dr. Le Hong Nhat, from the HCM City National University, is a profound angle of the nature of the East Sea disputes, China's plot and recommendations of policies for Vietnam. The articles show the author's personal viewpoint. The East Sea: Seizing opportunity, getting out of danger China's game in the East Sea Multilateral cooperation among small countries against the bully of big countries in the region is natural but difficult to implement. For example, China harassed ships of the Philippines near the Reed Bank but it does not directly affect the interests of Vietnam, which wants to maintain friendship and good neighborhood with China. On the contrary, China cutting the cables of Vietnamese seismic survey ships does not directly touch the interests of the Philippines, which still has commercial and diplomatic interests with China. For that reason, at the ASEAN security forum in Shangri-La Dialogue, Singapore this June, observers saw the protest of both … [Read more...] about The dilemma of Vietnam, Philippines and new opportunities
- At the Stonecutters Island army base in Hong Kong, camouflage-clad Chinese soldiers lunge forward with fierce yells, making stabbing motions with their daggers. There's a communal shout of admiration from the crowd watching the display on the army's home territory, which is opened up once a year to the public as a goodwill gesture. "We've done a lot of work on our image in Hong Kong," says sailor Yu Bin, as he helps visitors clamber up onto a warship. "I don't think people should be scared, because after all, we're here to defend the country." Beijing has long argued its army is primarily defensive, aimed at safeguarding China's territorial sovereignty. But the speed of China's military development is unnerving its neighbors and the United States. Senior Chinese officers insist China's People's Liberation Army, or PLA, is decades behind the U.S. Army, thus justifying 20 years of almost continuous double-digit hikes to the military budget. Many Chinese agree, like Lai Pau Mok, … [Read more...] about China’s growing military muscle: A looming threat?