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Chinese jets tail PH plane in joint patrol with Australia

CHINESE fighter jets yesterday shadowed a Philippine Air Force (PAF) light attack aircraft taking part in a joint maritime and air patrol being conducted by the Philippines and Australia in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), Armed Forces chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr said.

The military chief said the incident occurred a day after a Chinese Navy vessel also shadowed Philippine and Australian vessels taking part in the patrol in the contested area.

The joint patrol, or “maritime coordinating activity,” between the Philippines and Australia started last Saturday or two days after a similar three-day activity between the US and the Philippines.

China also shadowed the US-Philippines joint patrol which the military said was successful as no untoward incident occurred and the two sides achieved the goal of enhancing interoperability.

“May dalawang Chinese jet fighters na umikot dun sa plane natin. (Two Chinese jet fighters flew in circles around our plane),” said Brawner of the fighters jets from the China People’s Liberation Army-Air Force.

Brawner said the incident occurred early morning yesterday while the PAF’s A29-B Super Tucano light attack aircraft was above Hubo Reef.

“Yung jet fighters inikutan yung Super Tucano natin (The jet fighters flew in circles around our Super Tucano),” he said.

Brawner said the Super Tucano aircraft maintained its flight plan until it completed its air patrol.

He also disclosed that a Chinese Navy ship shadowed Philippine Navy and Australian ships during a maritime patrol in the WPS.

“There was shadowing of our maritime patrol,” Brawner said without giving details.

Still, Brawner said, the joint patrol between Philippines and Australia was turning out to be “okay,” noting that “so far, no untoward incidents” were reported.

Brawner said no challenge was issued by China in the past two days against aircraft and ships involved in the Philippines-Australia patrol.

Brawner said Philippines and Australia are conducting the joint patrol to hone their skills in promoting rules-based international order.

“While doing so, while doing the joint maritime and air patrols, we are following international laws like UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the