The United States has been coming to the Philippines’ aid as tensions in the South China Sea rise. According to reports, the West will be transferring an observation blimp to the Philippines to help the country monitor maritime activity and secure its borders in light of the regional dispute. Will the Philippines be able to stand up to China?
Tensions are rising in the South China Sea and claimants like the Philippines are stepping up their efforts in hopes of deterring Chinese aggression. According to new reports, the United States is continuously helping Manila to monitor maritime activity and also guard its borders in light of China’s expansion efforts.
“We will add to its capability to put sensors on ships and put an aerostat blimp in the air to see into the maritime space,” Reuters quoted Philip Goldberg, U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, during his interview with CNN Philippines. According to Goldberg, Washington will be giving Manila around $42 million worth of sensors, radar and communications equipment. The United States and the Philippines have been allies for the longest time in the Asia-Pacific. Their alliance dates as far back as World War 2.
The to-be given blimp is a balloon-borne radar that monitor movements and gather information across the South China Sea. China has been under fire for aggressively pursuing its intentions in the region even challenging other nations’ sovereignty in the process. Since its construction of artificial islands, a number of activities across the region have been reported including landing planes on one of its airstrips. Other claimants have called out the country for such pursuit. Nations like the United States and Japan have also condemned the said activities.
China has raised some questions after one of its military aircraft landed on the Fiery Cross Reef or Yongshu Reef.
“We’re aware that a Chinese military aircraft landed at Fiery Cross Reef on Sunday in what China described as a humanitarian operation to evacuate three ill workers,” CNN quoted Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis.
“It is unclear why the Chinese used a military aircraft, as opposed to a civilian one,” added the official.