US spy planes monitoring China at sea: Philippines

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    Feb 21, 2012
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    US spy planes monitoring China at sea: Philippines

    THE Philippines said yesterday that US spy planes were providing crucial intelligence on Chinese military activities in disputed areas of the South China Sea.


    US Navy P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft frequently fly over areas that the Philippines says are within its legal territory but where China has deployed military vessels, said Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.

    "I think it's of significant importance for us," del Rosario told reporters, when asked about the value of the information gathered by the spy planes.

    "We do have an interest in terms of what is going on with our exclusive economic zone, within our continental shelf, and we want to know if there are any intrusions."

    China claims nearly all of the sea, even waters close to the Philippines and other neighbours.

    Analysts have long warned that China's overlapping claims with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan could be a flashpoint of armed conflict.

    Tensions have risen in recent years as China has adopted more aggressive diplomatic and military tactics to assert its claims to the potentially resource-rich waters.

    The Philippines has repeatedly called on the US for help in resisting China. While the US insists it will not take sides in the South China Sea dispute, it has helped to upgrade the Philippines' military capabilities.

    When asked how long the spy planes had been flying over the Philippine-claimed waters of the South China Sea, del Rosario said since at least he became foreign secretary in 2010.

    He gave no further details on the timeframe but said the planes operated mostly, but not exclusively, during times of joint military exercises between the Philippines and the US.AFP

    US spy planes monitoring China at sea: Philippines | The Brunei Times

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