Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Philippines closely monitoring tensed situation in East China Sea

The Department of National Defense (DND) said that it is closely monitoring the security development in the region amid the ongoing territorial dispute in the East China Sea between Japan, China and Taiwan.

Defense spokesman Dr. Peter Paul Galvez said the mounting territorial row over the Senkaku group of islands between the claimant countries has a direct bearing to the region’s security.

“The DND is intently following the situation because it affects the fabric of regional stability,” Galvez said, in reference to Tuesday's water cannon duel between the Japanese and Taiwanese coast guard vessels near Senkaku Island.

Coast guard vessels from Japan and Taiwan fired water cannons at each other after dozens of Taiwanese boats escorted by patrol ships sailed into waters around Tokyo-controlled islands.

Japanese coastguard ships sprayed water at the fishing vessels, footage on national broadcaster NHK showed, with the Taiwanese patrol boats retaliating by directing their own high-pressure hoses at the Japanese ships.

The large-scale breach of what Japan considers sovereign territory -- one of the biggest since World War II -- is the latest escalation in a row over ownership of the islands that pits Tokyo against Beijing and Taipei.

The intrusion complicates the already volatile territorial dispute with China. Taiwan has said that officers aboard some of the patrol ships sent to the area are fully-armed elite coastguard personnel.

Meanwhile, the security situation in areas in the hotly-contested Spratlys region is now normal with maritime territorial patrols monitoring no significant intrusions of any foreign forces.

A senior official attributed this to the prevailing security development in East China Sea wherein the China is apparently focusing their efforts in the area.

“It’s understandable, since we are not that strong, we don’t merit their (Chinese) immediate concern than Japan,” the security officials said.-The Philippine Star (September 25, 2012 04:51PM)

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