China expected to ‘behave well' during trilateral drills – Navy

China expected to ‘behave well’ during trilateral drills – PH Navy

By: - Reporter /
/ 06:12 PM April 23, 2024

China is expected to behave well when the trilateral drills kick off in the West Philippine Sea as part of the “Balikatan” exercises, according to a Philippine Navy official.

HOUNDED AT SEA China Coast Guard personnel aboard their rigid hull inflatable boat (left), in this photo taken on Feb. 16, trails a small Philippine boat carrying Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources personnel from the BRP Datu Tamblot trying to enter Scarborough Shoal, as a larger Chinese vessel is seen in the West Philippine Sea. —AFP (March 13, 2024)

MANILA, Philippines — China is expected to behave well when the trilateral drills kick off in the West Philippine Sea as part of the “Balikatan” exercises, according to a Philippine Navy official.

Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad, Navy spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, attributed this expectation to the presence of Manila’s warships and its foreign counterparts during the patrols to be conducted this week.

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READ: Philippine, US, French navies to sail in West PH Sea for Balikatan

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“That has been the call ever since for China to respect international law and I expect them to behave [well] actually this time,” Trinidad said in a regular press briefing.

Trinidad said China is not expected to disrupt the drills between the Philippines, France, and the United States.

“Because it is an activity between the US and the Philippines. Historically the illegal, unprovoked, uncalled for actions of China will only be to [the] Philippines,” he pointed out.

Manila and Washington have a Mutual Defense Treaty which states that both nations would support each other if an external party attacked either one of them.

Philippine Coast Guard vessels regularly lead the rotation and resupply mission for the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal, which was often met with hostile actions by China Coast Guard in a white-on-white clash.

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The presence of gray ships, Trinidad said, also made the difference this time.

“I don’t expect them to do anything illegal because of the presence of our warships,” he said.

Nevertheless, Trinidad said there are “appropriate measures in place” in case China disrupts the exercise.

Also, Trinidad said the Navy observed a substantial increase of Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea in previous weeks, “coinciding” with the beginning of Balikatan drills.

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READ: Number of Chinese ships in West PH Sea increases as war games begin

Beijing asserts sovereignty in the entire South China Sea, including most of the West Philippine Sea, but their claims have been effectively invalidated by the July 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling that stemmed from a case filed by Manila in 2013.

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TAGS: China, drills, Philippine Navy, West Philippine Sea

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