Manila Bulletin

Peace hopes up in flight dis­putes

- Military · Aviation · Politics · Coronavirus (COVID-19) · Asian Politics · Warfare and Conflicts · World Politics · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · China · United States of America · Philippines · Vietnam · Malaysia · Brunei Darussalam · Japan · South Korea · Manila · East China · Delfin Lorenzana

The South China Sea has long been a ma­jor field of con­tention be­tween the United States and China, with the US ac­tively chal­leng­ing China’s claim to sovereignt­y over most of the sea within a nine-dash line, and con­stantly send­ing ships and planes into the area as­sert­ing free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion in what it con­sid­ers in­ter­na­tional waters. China, how­ever, sees these flights as provo­ca­tions.

The South China Sea is bounded by the Philip­pines in the east, Viet­nam in the west, and Malaysia and Brunei in the south. To the north­east is the East China Sea be­tween China and Ja­pan. Far­ther north of that is the Yel­low Sea be­tween China and North and South Korea.

Last month, an in­ter­na­tional in­ci­dent in that far-off area came to in­volve the Philip­pines — a US sur­veil­lance air­craft fly­ing over the Yel­low Sea al­legedly used codes be­long­ing to Philip­pine air­craft. De­fense Sec­re­tary Delfin Loren­zana and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Her­mo­genes Esperon Jr. said this is a se­ri­ous se­cu­rity is­sue as it could en­tan­gle the Philip­pines in the ris­ing ten­sion be­tween China and US.

A re­port from the South China Sea Strate­gic Sit­u­a­tion Prob­ing Ini­tia­tive (SCSSPI) said a US RC1355 re­con­nai­sance air­craft us­ing a code as­signed to the Philip­pines flew over the Yel­low Sea be­tween China and Korea. The de­tected Philip­pine code could have made China sus­pi­cious as the Philip­pines does not con­duct pa­trol op­er­a­tions over that area.

The US pi­lots may have been try­ing to test China’s re­ac­tion, Esperon said as he ex­pressed his con­cern. “What could hap­pen is it could im­pli­cate or in­crim­i­nate the Philip­pine side. We sim­ply have to re­mind our US coun­ter­parts of the im­pli­ca­tions. The Philip­pines has sent a com­mu­ni­ca­tion to the US em­bassy in Manila. This is some­thing that must be dis­cussed. None­the­less, we hope this could be set­tled sat­is­fac­to­rily be­tween the par­ties,” he said.

In a press con­fer­ence, China’s for­eign min­istry said, “Since the be­gin­ning of this year, US re­conais­sance air­craft have elec­tron­i­cally im­per­son­ated civil air­craft of other coun­tries in the South China Sea for more than a hun­dred times. This threat­ens the se­cu­rity of China and coun­tries in the re­gion.”

The flights over the Yel­low Sea near Korea, like the ones over the East China near Ja­pan, and the South China Sea near the Philip­pines have long been part of US op­er­a­tions around the world as it as­serts free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion and flight over in­ter­na­tional waters.

We hope these two na­tions will be able to carry on with­out any in­ci­dent that may lead to a vi­o­lent con­fronta­tion and we hope they do not un­duly in­volve and en­dan­ger any other na­tion like the Philip­pines which is friend to both sides.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines