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10月14日のまにら新聞から

AFP chief says West Philippine Sea situation ''remains volatile and uncertain''

[ 349 words|2020.10.14|英字 (English) ]

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay said the situation in the West Philippine Sea "remains volatile and and uncertain".

"The situation in the South China Sea remains volatile and uncertain because of certain actions of certain actors in the area, particularly China and the United States to include the allies...alliance of the US, Australia, Japan and India," said Gapay in a virtual forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) on Tuesday.

"We have seen aggressive actions on the part of China, from reclaiming the area and deploying some warships there and their coast guards are very visible in the area. Their maritime militias are there. They're practically swarming most of the areas in the West Philippine Sea," he said.

"Here comes the United States, of course protecting their interests... in maintaining the sea lanes of trade and communications open and free and safe and secure, advocating freedom of navigation in the area, and us with our proximity and also our... interest in the area are definitely very much affected by this development in WPS," he added.

Gapay assures that the military maintains its presence in the West Philippine Sea, especially in the occupied Island and features.

"Within the limits of our capability we are maintaining presence in WPS. We conduct naval and air patrols every day in the WPS and it involves 7 Navy assets and there are 20 aircraft alternately performing patrol in the area plus we are augmented by the Philippine Coast Guaes just to maintain the presence in WPS and to send the message to the other countries there and to our allies this is an assertion of our sovereignty and our efforts in protecting and preserving territorial integrity of our country," he said.

"We are improving facilities in the nine features in WPS, you know we have troops manning those Island from Pagasa and the eight other features in WPS. We were building barracks there... and other life support facilities for our troops and this is also one way of maintaining presence in the area," he added. Robina Asido/DMS