Philippines & China Send Warship to Disputed Seas

The tensions is fueled again for China vs. Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam and ASEAN Nation

Breaking News: The Philippines has relaunched an U.S. Coast Guard Hamilton Cutter Class as its biggest and most modern warship to guard potentially oil-rich waters that are at the center of a dispute with China.

President Benigno Aquino III witnessed the commissioning of the 3,390-ton Philippine navy frigate BRP Gregorio del Pilar in an austere ceremony Wednesday (December 14, 2011)  that he said symbolized his country's struggle to modernize its underfunded military despite many obstacles.

Aquino said the Philippines cannot guard its territorial waters and islands "with dilapidated vessels and old and faulty equipment."

The newly repainted warship can carry a surveillance helicopter and is mounted with anti-aircraft guns. The navy says it will be deployed near contested waters in the South China Sea.

China sends patrol ship to disputed waters

China has sent its largest patrol ship to the East China Sea to guard the country's territorial rights, state media said Wednesday (December 14, 2011), in a move likely to fuel tensions over the disputed waters.

China has repeatedly locked horns with its neighbors Japan and Taiwan over a group of uninhabited islands -- called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in Chinese -- which Beijing claims are in its territorial waters.

Japan and Taiwan also claim sovereignty over the area, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas.

The 3,000-tonne Haijian 50 began its maiden voyage on Tuesday, the Global Times reported, citing the head of the East China Sea branch of the country's marine law enforcement agency.

The vessel will visit Rixiang Rock, Suyan Rock and the offshore oil and gas fields of Chunxiao and Pinghu, as well as China-Japan joint development zones, Liu Zhendong was quoted saying.

The Chinese-made vessel is equipped with the country's "most advanced marine technology and is capable of accommodating China's Z9A helicopters", the report said.

It will conduct joint patrols with the Haijian 66, a 1,350-tonne ship deployed in March.

Disputes over the East China Sea and South China Sea have intensified recently, with Chinese President Hu Jintao earlier this month urging the navy to prepare for military combat and a US campaign to assert itself as a Pacific power.

Several Asian nations have competing claims over parts of the South China Sea, believed to encompass huge oil and gas reserves, while China claims it all.

Separately, Beijing and Seoul are involved in a dispute over the Yellow Sea, where a South Korean coastguard was stabbed to death by a Chinese fisherman this week.

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