Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sayyaf man arrested in Basilan province

From the Mindanao Examiner (Jul 20): Sayyaf man arrested in Basilan province
Security forces have arrested a suspected Abu Sayyaf militant tagged as behind numerous murders and kidnappings in southern Philippines, police said Wednesday.

It said Adduri Suari alias Titing Alpha was tracked down in Isabela City in Basilan, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region and a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf.

Police linked Suari to the deadly Abu Sayyaf pillage of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay province in 1995 and the brutal killings of civilians in 2001 and soldiers in Basilan in 2007; and kidnappings in the province.

“The suspect was involved in Tairan golden harvest (plantation) kidnapping incident in 2001; Ipil massacre in 1995 and Al-Barka massacre in 2007. The subject was positively identified by witnesses and victims of the Tairan kidnapping incident,” said Superintendent Rogelio Alabata, the regional police spokesman.

He said Sauri was arrested by joint police and military forces on July 18, but only announced this on Wednesday due to an ongoing investigation and follow up operation in Basilan.

Alabata said Basilan Judge Leo Jay Prinsipe also issued a warrant for Suari’s arrest after security forces tracked him down in his hideout.

Military operation is still going on in Basilan against the Abu Sayyaf, but security officials did not release any report on the progress of the government’s anti-insurgency campaign in the restive province.

Basilan war refugees get food aid

From the Mindanao Examiner (Jul 20): Basilan war refugees get food aid

Thousands of Muslims – displaced by military operations against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan province – have received food aid on Wednesday after truckloads of relief goods arrived there from the government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The distribution of relief goods to refugees came ahead of expected visit Thursday of President Rodrigo Duterte in Zamboanga City and Basilan where he will meet with security officials and troops.

Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman led the distribution of food packs – comprising rice, canned goods and coffee, among others – to the villagers in the towns of Al-Barka, Tipo-Tipo and Ungkaya Pukan where security forces launched an operation against the notorious militant group which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Hataman was accompanied by dozens of social workers and members of the ARMM-Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team in the distribution of food packs. Security was tight during the relief mission conducted in safer areas in the towns.

Hataman also ordered social workers to look into the plight and welfare of those displaced by the fighting. He assured refugees of the continuous aid until the security situation improved.

The military did not release any information in the progress of the government’s anti-insurgency operation or whether it will take part in future humanitarian mission for refugees in the province.

Sabah still has no leads on missing 5 Malaysian sailors

From the Mindanao Examiner (Jul 20): Sabah still has no leads on missing 5 Malaysian sailors

Sabah authorities said it has no confirmation whether the Filipino militant group Abu Sayyaf was behind the disappearance of 5 Malaysian sailors off Lahad Datu town in Sabah near Tawi-Tawi province in southern Philippines.

Malaysia’s The Star Online reported on Wednesday that Sabah Police Commis¬sioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun as saying that they do not have any confirmation whether the Abu Sayyaf kidnapped the crew – Abd Rahim Summas, 62, Tayudin Anjut, 45, Fandy Bakran, 26, Mohd Zumadil Rahim, 23 and Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, 32 – of the tugboat Seruduna 3 on July 18.

“We are not discounting the possibility of kidnapping, but we do not have any confirmation at this moment,” Rashid said during a news conference in Lahad Datu.

The report said the empty tugboat was discovered by another vessel passing by the area and that food was prepared inside. The tugboat was set to return to Semporna after its barge delivered a cargo of stones in Sandakan City also in Sabah.

Police said it is not rushing to declare the latest incident a cross-border kidnapping and are looking at all aspects to ascertain the disappearance of crew members, according to the Star Online.

It quoted Rashid as saying that neither the families nor the employer of the missing sailors had received any calls for ransom. It was unknown whether Malaysian pirates with links to Abu Sayyaf were involved in the disappearance of the sailors.

The Abu Sayyaf also seized 7 other Indonesian tugboat crewmen on June 22 in the Sulu Sea near the Philippines border.

The sailors have been identified as Ferry Arifin, the tugboat skipper; M. Mahbrur Dahri, Edi Suryono, Ismail, M.Nasir, M.Sofyan and Robin Piter. The boat – owned by PT Rusianto Brothers – was heading to Samarinda in East Kalimantan following a trip from the Philippines when gunmen on speedboats intercepted it.

Indonesian media reported that the boat captain phoned his wife and told her that they were intercepted at sea by gunmen, who introduced themselves as Abu Sayyaf and were demanding 20 million ringgits for their safe release.

The Abu Sayyaf previously kidnapped 14 Indonesian tugboat crewmembers in separate attacks at sea off Sabah and brought them to Sulu province and eventually released through the intercession of the Moro National Liberation Front.

U.S. says its forces will keep operating in South China Sea

From CNN Philippines (Jul 20): U.S. says its forces will keep operating in South China Sea

U.S. military forces will continue to operate in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson said on Wednesday during a visit to a Chinese naval base.

China has refused to recognize a ruling by an arbitration court in The Hague that invalidated its vast territorial claims in the South China Sea and did not take part in the proceedings brought by the Philippines.

China has repeatedly blamed the United States for stirring up trouble in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually.

China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam all have rival claims, of which China's is the largest.

Also read: What you need to know about the Arbitral Tribunal's ruling

The United States has conducted freedom of navigation patrols close to Chinese-held islands, to Beijing's anger, while China has been bolstering its military presence there.

Meeting Yuan Yubai, commander of the Chinese North Sea Fleet, Richardson "underscored the importance of lawful and safe operations in the South China and elsewhere professional navies operate", the U.S. Navy said.

U.S. forces would keep sailing, flying and operating wherever international law allows, Richardson added.

"The U.S. Navy will continue to conduct routine and lawful operations around the world, including in the South China Sea, in order to protect the rights, freedoms and lawful uses of sea and airspace guaranteed to all. This will not change."

Richardson said he was supporting of the deepening of relations between the two navies.

"But I will be continuously reassessing my support conditioned on continued safe and professional interactions at sea. In this area we must judge each other by our deeds and actions, not just by our words," he added.

The United States has complained that Chinese aircraft and ships have performed "unsafe" manoeuvres while shadowing U.S. ships and planes, particularly in the South China Sea.

Speaking in Sydney on Wednesday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden assured key ally Australia there would be no retreat from Washington's pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, regardless of who wins November's presidential election.

New American Peace Corps Volunteers arrive in PH

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 19): New American Peace Corps Volunteers arrive in PH

Some 72 new Peace Corps Volunteers from the United States recently arrived in the country to bring a variety of experience and technical skills, as well as a spirited enthusiasm to learn about the Philippines.  
The arrival of the newest batch of Peace Corps volunteers was in time for the celebration of the Philippine-American Friendship Week.

The new volunteers aging from 21 to 68, will undergo ten-and-a-half weeks of intensive pre-service training that includes technical, language, and cultural studies to prepare them for their service.

They will also be assigned to work for a period of two years in communities throughout the Philippines in the fields of education, youth development and environment in partnership with the Department of Welfare and Social Development, Local Government Units and local non-governmental organizations.

Since 1961, American Peace Corps Volunteers have served in the country.

The Philippines is the second oldest Peace Corps program. Inspired by President John F. Kennedy, the goal of the U.S. Peace Corps is to promote world peace and friendship between the U.S. and the nations we serve. Volunteers work side-by-side with Filipinos to address community-based needs and engage in cross-cultural learning and living.

Army distributes school supplies to Surigao children

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 18): Army distributes school supplies to Surigao children

The government troops based in Surigao del Norte completed the school supplies distribution to 3,162 school children, this week.

The Philippine Army's program dubbed as "Project Shoebox" was able to benefit 32,739 children from conflict-affected areas in Northern Mindanao and Caraga. The project had been going for many years now.

"These little things are our way of saying, keep our children in schools. The future of our children is in school and at home. We all know that children are prone to recruitment of the New People's Army that trains them to become combatants. This process violates the rights of the children to be protected from mental, psychological, emotional and physical abusea," said 1st Lt Ryan Layug, 30IB Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer.

The school kits were categorized into two; the Kinder to Grade 3 (4 writing notebooks, 4 pencils, 2 erasers and 2 sharpeners), and Grade 4-Grade 6 (4 composition notebooks and 4 ballpens).

"This is the first time we have seen a program like this, as a teacher we are most grateful to our soldiers for giving our students inspiration to study and stay in school, first they have helped us in Brigada Eskwela and now the Project Shoebox. Sirs, we salute your service and contribution to our school," a teary eyed teacher of Alipao Elementary School said during the distribution. Alipao Elementary School is the biggest recipient in Surigao del Norte with 480 beneficiaries.

The distribution of Project Shoebox from July 7-19 was also participated by the local chief executives of Gigaquit, Sison and Malimono through the initiatives of 30th Infantry Battalion (30IB) Company Commanders and Barangay Officials.

"We have recommended schools in Surigao del Norte through our soldiers conducting Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP), 16 schools were approved, hopefully this will become a bigger event next year with more donors here in Surigao. We most specially thank the National Bookstore Foundation through their Project Aral in supporting this program," said 30IB commander Lt Col Rico Amaro.

Remote villages of Sultan Kudarat get Php8-M Kalahi-CIDSS projects

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 19): Remote villages of Sultan Kudarat get Php8-M Kalahi-CIDSS projects

New school, hanging cable footbridge, water system and community market are among the latest social infrastructure projects being used by residents of remote villages of Kalamansig, a coastal town of Sultan Kudarat province.

Gemma Rivera, assistant regional director of DSWD Region 12 said that the projects with  a combined total  cost  of Php8.1 million,  were completed with the collaborative efforts of the local government unit and community-beneficiaries.

“These projects are considered top priority of Kalamansig villagers after they were given the opportunity to choose which barangay and their respective projects will avail the funds through Kalahi-CIDSS,” Rivera said.

Kalahi-CIDSS, according to Rivera, is one of the flagship poverty-reduction programs of the agency that provides support to the poorest among the poor towns through grassroots empowerment activities and by financing proposed projects of communities.

Eight villages are now benefiting the projects that were started in 2015, Rivera added.

Among the beneficiary-communities include Datu Ito Andong, Wasay, Hinalaan, Limulan, Paril, Sabanal, Poblacion and Sangay.

Apart from the aforementioned villages, Rivera   revealed, another 14 villages in Kalamansig are now trained in preparation for the second cycle of sub-project implementation. Most of these projects are locate in the remote and mountainous villages of the town.

Kalahi-CIDSS, which stands for Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan- A Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, is a World Bank-funded program that utilizes the community-driven development (CDD) as a strategy.

This means that community residents are given the opportunity to take active role in governance including planning, budgeting, implementing, monitoring and sustaining their chosen projects and development initiatives of the barangay.

Pres. Duterte okays peace road map

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 20): Pres. Duterte okays peace road map

A comprehensive peace road map that hopefully will bring about peace and development in the land got the presidential imprimatur during a closed door meeting late Monday afternoon in Malacanan.

President Duterte approved in toto or in its entirety the peace formula presented by Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Jesus Dureza which will address the Bangsamoro issue, the impending resumption of peace negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF, and the implementation of closure agreements with other rebel groups in the country.

At the same time, the President adopted Dureza’s proposed strategy of implementing massive development on the ground simultaneously with the work to implement agreements that government had entered into.

Dureza said: “I can sign a hundred peace agreements but if those on the ground do not immediately feel the dividends of peace, those agreements will not be sustainable.”

President Duterte forthwith directed that the executive order of the OPAPP be amended to enable it to oversee all development projects and at the same time empower it to implement projects that are related to peace.

On the Bangsamoro, President Duterte declared that we are now already on the “implementation stage as the time for negotiations are over.”

The roap map now which is described as “inclusive” entails the operationalization of a mechanism where an all-Moro body will be tasked to draft anew a more inclusive proposed enabling law that will be filed with Congress in lieu of the so-called “Bangsamoro basic law” ( BBL) that was not passed by the previous Congress when it adjourned.

The peace strategy envisions the consolidation and/or convergence of the various peace agreements already entered into like the MILF’s Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the MNLF’s 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA), including relevant provisions of the Republic Act 9054 (the ARMM law) and the Indigenous People’s Rights Acts (IPRA) of the IPs.

The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) provided for in the MILF’s CAB will be reconstituted with representation coming from the MILF, MNLF, the ARMM and other Bangsamoro representatives.

Work on the new proposed bangsamoro enabling law will be done simultaneous with the moves to shift to a federal setup, the latter expected to come later under the planned time line.

The reconstituted and inclusive BTC will also be mandated to propose amendments to the Philippine Constitution that are pertinent to the bangsamoro as inputs towards eventual federalism in the land.

In the same Malacanan meeting, President Duterte also approved the way forward in the impending resumption of peace talks with communist rebels.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, government panel chair, led in the oath-taking of the new panel members.

The resumption of talks re-set tentatively to the middle of August 2016 will be preceded by the release of some 11 leaders of the CPP/NPA/NDF who are presently detained and who will participate in the talks.

President Duterte directed that legal procedures be complied with, to effect their temporary releases pursuant to the previously signed joint agreement on safety and immunity guarantees (JASIG).

Incoming Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and incoming House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez were invited to the Malacanan meeting and expressed support to the new peace road map.

Both leaders also committed to send their respective representatives from both Houses to assist in the peace work. An enabling law will have to be passed by Congress to implement the new peace road map of the Duterte administration.

President Duterte to visit Zamboanga, Basilan

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): President Duterte to visit Zamboanga, Basilan

Zamboanga City -- President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to visit tomorrow, July 21, this city and the nearby province of Basilan.

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesperson, disclosed the President will meet with the key military officials to get first hand information on the ongoing offensive against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) brigands in Basilan.

The offensive by the Westmincom troops continues against the ASG headed by Isnilon Hapilon and Furuji Indama.

Intelligence report showed that nine bandits were killed while 13 were wounded when the troops pounded them with artillery.

Tan said that President Duterte will also address the troops as well as visit the wounded soldiers at Camp Navarro General Hospital in this city.

Lorenzana to meet with Indon, Malaysian counterparts in August

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): Lorenzana to meet with Indon, Malaysian counterparts in August

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana is scheduled to meet with his Malaysian and Indonesian counterparts in Indonesia on the first week of August.

The August meeting follows the first meeting held in Manila last June 20 where the three defense chiefs discussed the possibility of conducting trilateral air and maritime patrols in common areas of concerns by the three nations.

This is an obvious reference to the Sulu Sea, the maritime area bordering the three nations where Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits have infiltrated and launched several kidnapping attacks against Malaysian and Indonesian seafarers.

Present during the June trilateral meeting were then DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin; the Minister of Defense Malaysia, His Excellency Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein; and the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Indonesia, His Excellency General (R) Ryamizard Ryacudu,

Arsenio Andolong, DND public affairs chief, said the August meeting will also again cooperative means to address the growing security challenges that undermine peace, security and prosperity in the region.

A Framework on Trilateral Cooperation Agreement on Immediate Measures to Address Security Issues in the Maritime Areas of Common Concern among the three countries was signed last July 16.

Police, military operatives arrest ASG member in Basilan

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): Police, military operatives arrest ASG member in Basilan

Combined police and military operatives have arrested a suspected member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) charged with string of criminal cases in Basilan province.

The Isabela City Police Office (ICPO) identified the arrested suspect as Adduri Aslain Suari alias Titing Alpha, who is facing seven-count kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges.

The police said Suari was arrested during a law enforcement operation around 9:00 a.m. Monday in Barangay Binuangan, Isabela City, the capital of Basilan province.

The police said Suari has standing warrant of arrest for the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention issued by a court in Isabela City.

The police said the arrested suspect was positively identified by a witness as one of those involved in kidnapping and beheading of workers at the Golden Harvest Plantation in Barnagay Tairan, Lantawan, Basilan in 2001.

The police said the suspect was also involved in the 2007 massacre in Al-Barka, Basilan; and, in the 1995 attack in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

The suspect was detained at the lock-up cell of the Regional Intelligence Division, the police said.

Military yet to confirm kidnapping of 5 Malaysian sailors

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): Military yet to confirm kidnapping of 5 Malaysian sailors

The military is confirming reports that Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits have kidnapped five Malaysian seafarers off Lahad Datu, Sabah last Monday.

"We are looking into this with keen interest and will seek to validate it at the soonest time and will release an official report once data has been provided," Western Mindanao Command Spokesperson Major Filemon Tan said.

The five Malaysian victims were reportedly kidnapped Monday night while on board a Tawau, Sabah-base tugboat T/B Serudong that was traveling from Sandakan to Semporna.

They were identified as Abdurahim Bin Summas, Tayudin Anjut, Mohammad Redzuah Bin Ismael, Mohammad Jumadil Bin Rahim and Fandy Bin Bakran.

Last June, four Malaysian sailors, earlier kidnapped in April, were released in Sulu after their families complied with the bandits' ransom demand.

The series of kidnapping against Malaysian and Indonesian seafarers prompted the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia to explore the possibility of conducting trilateral air and maritime patrols in common areas of concerns by the three nations.

Lorenzana eyes concentration of all relief assets in disaster-affected areas

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): Lorenzana eyes concentration of all relief assets in disaster-affected areas

In line with efforts to mitigate the harsh effects of typhoons and other calamities, Defense Secretary and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council chair Delfin Lorenzana is eyeing the concentrated deployment of all available relief assets to the affected areas.

He reasons that these assets readily available at calamity-battered areas will greatly increase the government's response capabilities.

Lorenzana made this statement during the first ever NDRRMC meeting under the new administration.

Aside from this, he is also planning to coordinate more closely with the local government units (LGUs) to further strengthen the country's disaster response capabilities.

"We will work with the LGUs to coordinate our (disaster relief) efforts," Lorenzana stressed.

Plans now ongoing to ensure safety of PHL fishermen venturing in Scarborough Shoal

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): Plans now ongoing to ensure safety of PHL fishermen venturing in Scarborough Shoal

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the government is now planning courses of actions to ensure the safety of Filipino fishermen planning to venture off Scarborough Shoal which lies 125 nautical miles off Masinloc town, Zambales.

This is should Chinese Coast Guard continues to harass and prevent Filipino fishermen from entering the rich fishing ground.

“Let us see what happens in the next couple of days. If they continue to deny entry (to Filipino fishermen), then maybe the government will come up with some actions or solutions to allow these fishermen to go there unimpeded by the Chinese Coast Guard,” he said.

The DND chief said the Philippines has many options but declined to discuss these as it merely "telegraph what we are doing to the other side.”

“But we are going to wait for some decisions from higher-ups on what we will be doing, President Duterte will have to consult other agencies before coming up with 'concrete actions,' he added.

China gained control of Scarborough Shoal after a tense stand-off with Philippine Navy units in 2012.

Its maritime law enforcement units have been consistently driving away Filipino fishermen spotted in the area.

Palace: PHL to pursue diplomatic path to realize tribunal ruling on WPS

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): Palace: PHL to pursue diplomatic path to realize tribunal ruling on WPS

MalacaƱang on Wednesday said the government will continue to pursue the diplomatic path to achieve the country’s exclusive rights over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) granted by Netherlands-based arbitral tribunal.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella considered the Philippine sovereign economic rights granted by the Law of Nations to be “non-negotiable”.

“The Philippines continues along a diplomatic path to fully realize the EEZ (exclusive economic zone) rights granted by the Arbitration Court -engaging in bilateral talks to find mutually acceptable arrangements to RP, PROC; and consulting with our regional allies,” he said in a statement.

Abella added engagement with China towards the peaceful resolution of the issue must be compliant with the Constitution, International Law and the rule of law.

Last week, the international arbitral tribunal released a historic decision that the disputed WPS belongs to the Philippines. This, after more than three years since the Philippines filed an arbitration case against China.

PNP-SAF troops start duty as NBP guards

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): PNP-SAF troops start duty as NBP guards

A batallion of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) on Wednesday started their duty on Wednesday as prison guards of the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) for the next two to three months, according to PNP Chief Director General Ronald 'Bato' Dela Rosa.

Some 300 highly-trained and well-equipped SAF members have already arrived at National penitenciary.

Dela Rosa reminded the SAF troopers deployed at the NBP not to be tempted by bribes during his talk with them in front of Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre.

He asked the troopers not to put their responsibility, the PNP Chief and President Rodrigo Duterte to shame.

He also give a warning that we know that if a certain incident, there will be a corresponding consequence.

The PNP deployed the elite force at the national penitentiary to stop the nefarious activities of the drug lords detained there.

The PNP Chief said that the DOJ will be the one in-charge of the foods and needs of the SAF that will serve as the NBP jail guards.

The police commandos will stay at the NBP for two to three months and will be assisted by members of Philippine Marines.

Meanwhile, current NBP jail guards would undergo months of re-training and in their absence, personnel from the SAF, an elite unit of the PNP, would take over their posts.

China Begins Air Patrols Over Disputed Area of the South China Sea

From the New York Times (Jul 18): China Begins Air Patrols Over Disputed Area of the South China Sea

A Chinese H-6K bomber patrolling over the South China Sea in an undated photo released by Xinhua, the state news agency. Credit Liu Rui/Xinhua, via Associated Press        

China said Monday that it had begun what would become regular military air patrols over disputed islands and shoals of the South China Sea, highlighting its claim to the vast area a week after an international tribunal said Beijing’s assertion of sovereignty over the waters had no legal basis.

China’s air force flew a “combat air patrol” over the South China Sea “recently,” Xinhua, the official news agency, reported, citing Shen Jinke, an air force spokesman. The patrol consisted of bombers, fighters, “scouts” and tankers and would become “regular practice,” Mr. Shen said, according to Xinhua.
The announcement of the air patrols, plus a separate statement that China would conduct military exercises in the South China Sea off the coast of Hainan Island, came as Adm. John M. Richardson, the chief of United States naval operations, was in Beijing to discuss the South China Sea and other issues that arose after the tribunal rebuked China’s claims over the waters on July 12.
The landmark decision rejected China’s assertion that it enjoys historical rights over a huge area of the South China Sea encompassed by a “nine-dash line.” China had argued that the tribunal had no jurisdiction in the matter.
China’s announcement of military exercises and patrols as a response to the ruling had been expected by analysts. But Beijing also moved to contain any public anger over the tribunal’s decision. Demonstrators in China called for boycotts at about a dozen KFC outlets on Monday to protest the United States’ role in the South China Sea dispute. But the protests were small compared with previous nationalist outpourings in China, and the state news media warned demonstrators not to disturb social order. The angry mobs of people rallying outside embassies in the Chinese capital, a regular feature in the past when China wanted to vent its grievances, never materialized.
Flying combat aircraft over international waters is also a more mild response than other measures China could have taken, like initiating reclamation work on the disputed Scarborough Shoal or setting up a so-called air defense identification zone in the South China Sea, in which China would require that aircraft entering the zone identify themselves or face a military response, said Euan Graham, the director of the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia.
“I think China is licking its wounds and taking stock,” Mr. Graham said by telephone. “The real unknown is how this will play out internally.”