South China Sea Dispute: Russian Warships Visit Philippines; China Tests Weapons in Disputed Region

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South China Sea Dispute: Russian Warships Visit Philippines; China Tests Weapons in Disputed Region PHOTOGRAPH: Francisco Gonzales / Flickr |

The South China Sea dispute have been paused — between the PH and China — following the Philippines and Beijing’s new ties. Unlike the impending war that surrounds the contested islands before, different countries are now sailing freely in the South China seas.

On January 4, Wednesday, a group of Chinese warships, led by its sole aircraft carrier reportedly carried out weapon and equipment drills in the South China Sea. The Liaoning ship, in particular, led the exercises being held since last month. According to China, the Soviet-built Liaoning, and all the other ships conduct routine exercises that comply with international law.

“The Liaoning aircraft carrier group in the South China Sea is carrying out scientific research and training, in accordance with plans,” Geng Shuang, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said during a news briefing. “The purpose is to test the performance of weapons and equipment.”

The United States’ warships have also conducted “freedom of navigations” patrols through the contested waters. That activity, which started last year, is due to the growing concern about a Chinese construction of air strips and docks on the disputed islands.

Russian Warships Visit Philippines

Meanwhile, another US rival visited Asia’s Philippines in a bid to strengthen military ties. CNN reports that two Russian warships landed in the PH this week as Moscow is also eyeing to play a big part in the disputed waters. On Tuesday, both the Russian sea tanker Boris Butomato and destroyer Admiral Tributs both arrived in Manila for what the Philippine Navy noted as a “goodwill visit.”

According to Lued Lincuna, Philippine Navy public affairs officer, there would be no joint exercises in the next five days.  However, the two countries are till having talks whether to hold future joint exercises. On the other hand, a Russian site called RT.com, said that the “Russian marines are expected to discuss and share tactics” with plans toward future joint exercises.

The Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte have been vocal about how he wants Russia’s military support. Additionally, he also eyes to purchase arms in the Putin- lead country.

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