Aquino: Philippines to fly usual routes over disputed reefs

May 25, 2015, 3:24 AM

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine aircraft will continue to fly their usual routes over disputed reefs in the South China Sea, the country’s president said Monday, defying China’s challenges to its planes and those of the United States.

President Benigno Aquino III told reporters there is no declared air defense identification zone over the area and “we will still fly the routes that we fly based on international law.”

“We will still exercise our rights over our exclusive economic zone,” he said, adding that the “bottom line is, it has to be clear, we will defend our rights to the best of our abilities.”

Aquino pointed to the disparity in the military strength of China and the Philippines, saying China should not bully a smaller country because it would hurt its image as it tries to create goodwill with its trading partners.

The Philippines is pursuing international arbitration and diplomatic efforts to try to resolve the territorial dispute with China.

When asked about what coordination the Philippines is having with the United States, a key military ally, to address the problem, Aquino said the two countries are helping each other but that he could not reveal details.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told reporters he will meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter at the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii on Wednesday to discuss concerns over China’s apparent attempt to impose an ADIZ in the area.

“We will ask the extent of help they can give us … because right now we are the one being bullied,” he said. “Let us see what assistance they can give us to more or less keep us safe from harassment.”

Gazmin said Filipino and Japanese defense officials were also discussing the possibility of transferring Japanese military equipment to the Philippines, which has one of the most ill-equipped armed forces in the region.

China said Thursday that it is entitled to keep watch over airspace and seas surrounding artificial islands it created in the South China Sea, following an exchange in which its navy warned off a U.S. surveillance plane. The United States said that its own aerial patrolling was in accordance with international law and that it will seek to preserve the ability of not just the U.S. but all countries to exercise freedom of navigation and flight.

Philippine military officials have said China has challenged its air patrols at least six times since last month, with a recording asking the planes to leave the Chinese military area to avoid misunderstanding.

China’s construction has intensified frictions in the South China Sea, where Beijing’s expansive claims to the waters and reefs overlap with those of the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

World News

A fisherman watches smoke rise after Russian forces launched a missile attack on a military unit in...
Associated Press

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters hit by drone strike

An explosive device carried by a makeshift drone blew up Sunday at the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean Peninsula.
18 days ago
Medical syringes are seen with 'Monkeypox' sign displayed on a screen in the backgound in this illu...
Associated Press

Monkeypox declared a global emergency by UN health agency

The expanding monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries is an “extraordinary” situation that qualifies as a global emergency.
26 days ago
Chinese paramilitary policemen march in front of the Japanese embassy where the Japanese flag is fl...
Associated Press

Japan’s ex-leader Shinzo Abe assassinated during a speech

TOKYO (AP) — Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated Friday on a street in western Japan by a gunman who opened fire on him from behind as he delivered a campaign speech — an attack that stunned a nation with some of the strictest gun control laws anywhere. The 67-year-old Abe, who was Japan’s […]
1 month ago
Firefighters hose down a burning car after a strike hit a residential area, in Kramatorsk, Donetsk ...
Associated Press

Russia taking ‘operational pause’ in Ukraine, analysts say

Analysts say Russia may be taking an "operational pause" in eastern Ukraine to reassemble forces for a significant offensive.
1 month ago
Prime Minister Boris Johnson enters 10 Downing Street, after reading a statement in London, Thursda...
Associated Press

One scandal too many: British PM Boris Johnson resigns

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation Thursday after droves of top government officials quit over the latest scandal to engulf him, marking an end to three tumultuous years in which he tried to bluster his way through one ethical lapse after another. Months of defiance ended almost with a shrug as […]
1 month ago
Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Aquino: Philippines to fly usual routes over disputed reefs