Monday, 1 October 2012

Phillippines sends troops to Spratlys

MANILA— The Philippines has deployed 800 more Marines and opened a new headquarters to guard its interests in the disputed Spratly Islands, which China also claims, a senior military official said Sept. 30.
Straddling vital shipping lanes and believed sitting atop vast reserves of mineral deposits, including oil, the Spratlys chain in the South China Sea has long been considered a flashpoint for conflict in the region.

Apart from the Philippines and China, the Spratlys are claimed in whole or in part by Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.

Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban, appearing to want to assuage Beijing in particular, said the deployment was only meant as a defensive measure and should not be seen as an aggressive move.
“These two battalions which arrived recently will be augmenting protection of our islands,” Sabban, who heads the military garrison which has jurisdiction over the Spratlys, told AFP.

This is an interesting development and comes just days after threats to shoot down Chinese UAV's if they cross into Philippine airspace. 

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