South China Sea: Vietnam increases maritime militia as tensions continue to mount | World | New
She launched a new squadron on Wednesday – the Permanent Maritime Militia Unit – in Kien Giang province in the Mekong Delta. The squadron is designed “to jointly protect the sovereignty of the sea and the islands,” according to the country’s defense ministry.
The unit has air and sea capabilities, and will conduct patrols while protecting fishermen.
It is the second force created by the Vietnamese army in recent months, after a squadron of 131 men formed in April.
The latest development in the South China Sea comes as Filipinos lament a perceived encroachment by Beijing’s fishing vessels into disputed waters.
In March, the Philippines accused 200 Chinese ships of anchoring at Whitsun Reef in the Spratly Islands.
They suspected that the ships were piloted by militiamen.
And, in May, Manila accused China of sending another 100 ships to the region.
Beijing has denied the allegations, saying the ships anchored in the reef to escape bad weather and rough seas.
“There is no Chinese maritime militia as it is claimed,” the Chinese embassy in Manila said in a statement.
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Last week, the head of the Philippine armed forces visited one of the country’s controlled islands, angering Chinese officials.
Cirilito Sobejana, head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), praised the soldiers for protecting the island’s residents and “keeping the country’s territories” in the region.
Today, the Southeast Asian and Chinese foreign ministers agreed to hold a meeting where they will discuss the restriction in the South China Sea and avoid actions that could exacerbate tensions. .
The meeting follows an alleged “incursion” of 16 Chinese planes into Malaysian airspace.
The plane was reportedly spotted within 60 nautical miles of the state of Sarawak, Malaysia, Borneo.
Malaysian authorities described the incident as a “serious threat to national sovereignty and flight safety”.