US Announces Joint Patrols With Philippines in South China Sea

60577C07-EE05-4BFE-B5C5-0A39CE97E48B_w640_h360{VOA News/MANILA} — The U.S. military has been conducting joint patrols in the South China Sea with the Philippines and is increasing its presence on the archipelago with rotational forces and equipment, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter revealed Thursday.

Speaking at a news conference in Manila with his Filipino counterpart, Carter said the first South China Sea joint patrol was carried out in March. Defense officials said a second joint patrol was completed in early April.

The Philippines is now the second country, after Japan, with which U.S. forces have conducted joint patrols in the sea, a defense official said.

“Our planners are examining ways on how to make such patrols part of our regular activities,” Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said at the news conference.

The announcement comes amid concerns by the U.S. and others about China’s aggressive actions over disputed territories in the South China Sea.

China, which claims almost the entire waterway, has created some 1,200 hectares of artificial islands atop reefs in the disputed Spratly Islands, a group of islands, reefs and cays near the Philippines that are claimed by Beijing, Manila and others.

Carter said maritime security concerns in the region are being caused by “Chinese behavior, not America.” READ MORE OF THIS STORY

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About Cholo Brooks 13335 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.