China Shadows US Navy in South China Sea Drills

Chinese surveillance ships were reported to have closely monitored U.S. Navy ships during military drills near the Philippines in the South China Sea. The U.S., Philippine, and French warships started the exercises from the Philippines and later entered international waters where China claims territory. During the drills, two Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy vessels were seen observing the multilateral formation from a close distance. 


One of the Chinese ships, the Tianwangxing, an electronic surveillance ship, approached within two nautical miles of the USS Harpers Ferry, reportedly disrupting the American warship’s activities. Despite the close surveillance, U.S. spokespersons for the exercises denied any disruption to the drill by the Chinese vessels. Later, a third Chinese vessel came within nine nautical miles of the formation.

The Balikatan military exercises aimed to strengthen the U.S.-Philippines relationship in response to Chinese aggression in the region. The drills included operations within the Philippines’ economic exclusive zone and training for freedom of navigation. U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific commander highlighted the importance of mutual commitment in promoting regional security during the exercise.

The presence of Chinese surveillance ships near the military drills raises concerns about China’s intentions in the South China Sea. Such actions can be seen as attempts to intimidate and assert dominance in the region. The U.S. and its allies must remain vigilant and strengthen their defense capabilities to ensure regional stability and protect shared interests.

China’s aggressive behavior in the South China Sea should not go unchecked, and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command needs to closely monitor and address any threats to regional security. The Balikatan exercises serve as a crucial demonstration of unity and readiness among allies against potential threats in the Indo-Pacific region.

Written by Staff Reports

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