Philippines to receive new frigate

Picture: Defense Visual Information Distribution ServiceThe Philippine Navy’s (PN) order for a Jose Rizal-class frigate will arrive today from South Korea’s

BRP Jose Rizal at RIMPAC 2020 002

Picture: Defense Visual Information Distribution ServiceThe Philippine Navy’s (PN) order for a Jose Rizal-class frigate will arrive today from South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) Ulsan shipyard.

The BRP Antonio Luna will be the second guided-missile frigate to join the PN. The frigate is equipped with surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and anti-submarine capabilities.

Today’s delivery comes a week after a Chinese survey vessel illegally entered Philippine maritime borders. While the Chinese claimed that its ship, the Jia Geng, was seeking protection from unfavourable weather, this was the second time it had been seen in Philippine waters. Additionally, when the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) was dispatched to investigate the situation, the Jia Geng denied the PCG’s boarding attempts “because of COVID-19” fears, according to a PCG spokesperson.

Last week’s incident was another example of a growing list of Chinese commercial and military naval incursions that have strained bilateral relations. The addition of the Antonio Luna will certainly increase the PN’s power projection capabilities. However, this alone will unlikely affect the situation as China has shown it is unwilling to restrain its vessels from violating international law. Thus, expect encroachments to continue until Manila can construct an effective maritime strategy or China actively inhibits its ships from violating Philippine ocean borders.

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