Chinese fighter jets ‘orbit’ Philippines aircraft during patrol over contested waters

Chinese fighter jets “orbited” a Philippine aircraft during a joint patrol between the Philippines and Australia over contested waters in the South China Sea.Footage captured by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) shows what was reported to be Chinese planes allegedly circling the Philippines’ Super Tucanos aircraft in the middle of a drill over Hubo Reef on November 26.AFP chief General Romeo Brawner Jr. said: ‘The circling happened for about 15 minutes and our aircraft were able to finish their mission. They finished the maritime air patrol in the area of the West Philippine Sea without any untoward incident.’He added that Chinese vessels had also been spotted on November 25 allegedly shadowing Philippine and Australian ships during maritime patrols. The Philippines and Australia held joint military drills in the South China Sea from November 25 to 27. The exercises were conducted after a three-day joint air and maritime exercise between the Philippines and the US near Taiwan last week.China currently lays claim over almost the entire South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest sea lanes. But a United Nations-backed tribunal in 2016 deemed its claims groundless.

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