China deploys 5 warships near Philippines after US sub visit

China deploys 5 warships near Philippines after US sub visit

The Philippine Star – by Jaime Laude  MANILA, Philippines – The arrival of a nuclear-powered United States submarine in Subic Bay apparently prompted China to deploy five of its warships close to the maritime domain of the Philippines.

This was reported [May 19th] by Duowie News, a news outlet operated by overseas Chinese in Taiwan, saying the five ships include two Type-052B destroyers, two Type-054A frigates and one Type-071 amphibious transport vessel.

The ships are currently on a training mission in a yet unspecified location near the Philippines but could be sent to support the Chinese fishery administration ships around Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal if the standoff over the disputed atoll escalates.

The standoff at Panatag Shoal began on April 10 when two Chinese fishery ships were deployed in Panatag shoal to prevent the Philippine Navy from arresting and detaining Chinese fishermen who had been apprehended in the area.

“With a displacement of just 3,200 tons, the Hamilton-class cutter of the Philippine Navy is no match for the four Chinese destroyers and frigates which together would carry about 48 C-802/803 anti-ship missiles. The Philippines has none,” Duowie said.

The warships are now approaching the waters of the Philippines, the report added.

USS North Carolina silently surfaced in the former US Naval Base in Subic on Sunday last week for reprovisioning.

One of the most modern submarines in the US Navy, Carolina was scheduled to leave Subic yesterday for deployment for freedom of navigation operations in the West Philippine Sea.

The unannounced visit of Carolina in Subic came amid the aggressive behavior of China in laying its territorial claim over Panatag Shoal, a rich fishing ground located just 124 nautical miles off Masinloc in Zambales.

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