Philippines can explore joint patrols with China in South China Sea: expert

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2023 08:34 PM

This photo was taken during an aerial patrol by the AFP Western Command in the West Philippine Sea on November 23, 2022. It shows 12 Chinese fishing vessels around the eastern part of Sabina Shoal. Similar ships were also discovered on the western part of the shoal. Chinese vessels were similarly spotted in the same area on December 5. Maj. Cherryl Tindog, AFP Western Command/handout/file
This photo was taken during an aerial patrol by the AFP Western Command in the West Philippine Sea on November 23, 2022. It shows 12 Chinese fishing vessels around the eastern part of Sabina Shoal. Similar ships were also discovered on the western part of the shoal. Chinese vessels were similarly spotted in the same area on December 5. Maj. Cherryl Tindog, AFP Western Command/handout/file


MANILA — The Philippines may explore conducting joint patrols with China in the South China Sea based on certain areas of cooperation the two countries can engage in, a Chinese studies expert said Wednesday.

In a forum, Chinese studies expert Rommel Banlaoi said that while joint patrols are a normal practice among sovereign states, the Philippines must tread carefully when doing such patrols with the United States.

“We have to be cautious of its intention because we might be getting unnecessary reaction from our neighbors, not only China but also around the littoral states of the South China Sea," Banlaoi said.

"If we can explore the possibility of having joint patrol with United States, we can also explore the possibility of joint patrol with China,” he added, noting that the Philippines has also existing joint patrol activities Indonesia and Malaysia in the Sulu Seas. 

Citing the two countries’ shared history and geographical proximity, Banlaoi said the Philippines and China can “find common ground” and promote cooperation in the South China Sea, adding that their differences are “not irreconcilable.”

“We share a fruitful past for more than a millennium and therefore we have the stronger basis to share our common future and we can share this common future despite our existing differences in the South China Sea,” Banlaoi said.

“Our differences are not irreconcilable. In fact we can find common ground in order to promote cooperation in the South China Sea. We can cooperate in various fields like marine scientific research, marine environmental protection, search and rescue operation, combatting transnational crime, and even cooperation on the development of natural gas and oil. In other words, we have a lot of things to share. We share the past and therefore we can share the future."

Banlaoi was part of a panel of speakers and past awardees who joined the call for nominations for the Award for Promoting Philippines-China Understanding organized by the Association for Philippines-China Understanding and the Chinese Embassy in Manila.

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