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PH boosting capability to secure territory, EEZ amid China preps for conflicts at sea

The Philippines on Friday said it is developing its capability in protecting anf securing the country's territory and exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

This is after China's President Xi Jinping called on its armed forces to coordinate preparations for military conflicts at sea, protect its maritime rights and interests and the development of the maritime economy.

In a statement, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said the DND and the AFP have already launched the Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept (CADC).

“The DND and AFP have embarked on the implementation of the CADC,” Teodoro said.

“In plain language, we are developing our capability to protect and secure our entire territory and EEZ in order to ensure that our people and all the generations of Filipinos to come shall freely reap and enjoy the bounties of the natural resources that are rightfully ours within our domain,” he added.

Teodoro also urged AFP commanders and units to utilize all efforts to enforce the CADC.

“I emphasize that this a strategic action and will not need constant directives to carry out. I, thus, urge our commanders and units in the AFP to exert all efforts to operationalize the CADC,” he said.

On Thursday, Xi made the orders on preparing for military conflicts at sea during China's annual parliament meeting with the delegation of the People's Liberation Army and Armed Police Force.

Tensions between China and the Philippines have heightened in recent months as both sides trade accusations over a series of incidents in the West Philippine Sea (WPS)

On March 5, two Chinese Coast Guard vessels fired water cannon at a Philippine boat conducting a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin Shoal, hurting four Filipino Navy personnel.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than $3 trillion in annual ship commerce. Its territorial claims overlap with those of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

Parts of the waters within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone have been renamed as West Philippine Sea.

In 2016, an international arbitration tribunal in the Hague said China's claims had no legal basis, a decision Beijing has rejected. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News