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Philippines, Australia start sea, air patrols in South China Sea

Admin By Admin Nov25,2023

“Australia and the Philippines are firmly committed to peaceful, secure and prosperous region, where sovereignty and agreed rules and norms are respected,” Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said in a joint statement posted by Marcos.

“The first joint patrol between the Australian Defence Force and the Armed Forces of the Philippines demonstrates this commitment,” Marles said.

The patrols will be carried out in the West Philippine Sea, said Philippine Department of National Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong, using Manila’s term for waters in the South China Sea that fall within its exclusive economic zone.

The Philippine military said two of its navy vessels and five surveillance aircraft would participate, while Australia would send the frigate Toowoomba and P8-A maritime surveillance aircraft.

“This inaugural Maritime Cooperative Activity and those that may follow are a practical manifestation of the growing and deepening strategic and defense partnership between our countries,” Marcos said on X, the platform formerly called Twitter.

The Philippines and the United States concluded three-day joint sea and air patrols on Thursday, starting in waters near Taiwan, a democratically governed island that China claims as its own, and ending in the West Philippine Sea.

China has accused the Philippines of enlisting “foreign forces” to patrol the South China Sea and stirring up trouble. Manila insists the maritime activities are within its rights.

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