New military commander for South China Sea

The Philippine military said it has replaced a key commander overseeing forces in the South China Sea, including troops garrisoned on a disputed reef.

Rear Admiral Alfonso Torres Jr will replace Vice-Admiral Alberto Carlos as chief of the Western Command on Palawan island, which is the closest Philippine landmass to the hotly contested Spratly Islands.

The military said in a statement the move was part of “ongoing changes in leadership and key positions within the military which is necessary for the institution to adapt to evolving security environment and effectively address emerging challenges.”

The announcement on Saturday of Carlos’ replacement follows a diplomatic row between Manila and Beijing over an alleged agreement with Chinese officials.

The Chinese embassy in Manila claims the deal related to conduct of Chinese and Philippine vessels around Second Thomas Shoal, where Filipino troops are stationed on a beached naval vessel.

It alleged Manila reneged on the agreement, whose terms it has not made public, causing Chinese law enforcement to take “necessary measures” to protect their territory. — AFP

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commander , South China Sea


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