MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine military says it has deployed a Japanese-donated patrol plane to a disputed shoal guarded by China in the South China Sea, and the aircraft did not encounter any Chinese resistance.
The military's Northern Luzon Command says the Beechcraft King Air C90 flew low at 800 feet (240 meters) around Scarborough Shoal on Wednesday during its first mission for the Philippine navy. It said it spotted nine Chinese vessels, including four Chinese coast guard ships, and four Philippine fishing boats.
The military says it "will utilize all available assets and resources to protect our national territory."
The plane is one of five refurbished C90 aircraft which were leased and later donated by Japan to the Philippines. The Asian nations are both locked in territorial disputes with China.