The Philippines may ask the U.S. to deploy spy planes to monitor areas of the South China Sea following an increase in incidents amid a territorial dispute with China, a presidential spokesman said.
“There is no aggressive intent and it should not be seen as a provocation,” Ricky Carandang, President Benigno Aquino’s spokesman, said by telephone from Manila today. The Philippines would need U.S. P3 Orion planes because the nation doesn’t have aircraft with spying capabilities, Reuters reported yesterday, citing comments Aquino made in an interview.
The U.S. “supports the Philippines in enhancing its maritime domain awareness,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters yesterday in Washington, while referring specific questions on military cooperation to the Pentagon.
Aquino’s cabinet will meet July 5 to discuss the territorial dispute, including whether to redeploy ships to the Scarborough Shoal, Carandang said. Tensions have risen since a standoff that began in April between ships from both countries over the Scarborough Shoal, which China’s government calls Huangyan island.
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