Philippines ready to deploy patrol vessel to Scarborough Shoal

Featured South East Asia - November 27th, 2012

The Philippine Coast Guard declared Monday that it would readily deploy a patrol vessel to the Scarborough Shoal as China announced it had successfully landed a fighter jet on its aircraft carrier, a sign of fresh tensions.

The BRP Pampanga was “on standby” and “ready for deployment” to disputed territories in the South China Sea where Philippine and Chinese vessels were locked in a month-long standoff in April, Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Commander Armand Balilo told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The Coast Guard said they are ready to deploy the Pampanga should the Department of National Defences and the Department of Foreign Affairs give the signal.

When it deploys, the Pampanga could face off with the 300-meter (990 foot) Liaoning, Asia News Network reports.

The territorial row has marred talks between Southeast Asian nations and China on a resolution to the dispute. Tensions mounted after China issued passports with a map including disputed territories in the South and East China Sea, raising concerns on a potential confrontation amid Beijing’s growing assertiveness.

The Philippines has no warships larger and more capable than the second-hand cutter donated by the US earlier this year and also lacks fighter jets.