Philippines backtracks on China drone plan after holding talks on the issue

The Philippines is pushing forward with bilateral defense talks after officials said the issue of firefighting drones has been resolved. China submitted a document in October outlining its plan to maintain territorial control over…

Philippines backtracks on China drone plan after holding talks on the issue

The Philippines is pushing forward with bilateral defense talks after officials said the issue of firefighting drones has been resolved.

China submitted a document in October outlining its plan to maintain territorial control over the Spratly Islands. It’s website said the China Coast Guard has the right to keep maritime traffic out of fishing areas and for offshore purposes only.

Several nations, including the Philippines, have claimed ownership of islands in the disputed waters. The Philippines says that firefighting drones from the U.S. military can help tackle the region’s ongoing sea piracy and militant attacks.

The proposal infuriated China, but the Philippines government said last week that Beijing agreed to have an “informal” discussion on military affairs after earlier saying the Chinese had stalled negotiations on the matter.

“The issue has now been resolved and we have to make it better and our experience to the point where it is really promising to know they want to discuss the issue,” Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano said Nov. 23.

A Defense Department official said the countries will next month have a round of talks on “rules of engagement” for use of unmanned aircraft.

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