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South China Sea Brief: March 17, 2022
After approaching Vietnam’s Hai Thach - Moc Tinh gas field on March 14, China Coast Guard vessel 5901 returned and hovered at the south of Vanguard Bank.
The movements of CCG 5901 and the earlier exercise in Vietnamese waters suggest that China is increasing pressure and aggressive activities towards Vietnam.
On March 15, Indonesia sent KRI Bontang tanker to overlapping exclusive economic zones between Vietnam and Indonesia, possibly to follow CCG 5901, which also traversed into Indonesia's continental shelf.
The Philippines appears to be increasing its naval and coast guard presence in the Spratly Islands.
BRP Andrés Bonifacio (PS-17) offshore patrol ship and PCG's BRP Cape Engaño arrived at Thitu Island this morning. Earlier, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) frigate was also deployed.
The deployment comes after dozens of Chinese maritime militia vessels were seen mooring near Thitu Island on March 14.
ENI to begin drilling campaign at Block 115/09
According to Northern Vietnam Maritime Safety Corporation (VMS-North), ENI Vietnam B.V will begin its exploratory drilling campaign at Block 115/09 in April.
The PV DRILLING VI rig will be towed from Vung Tau to 115-Dan Tranh-1X well from March 15 to March 30.
Block 115/09 is located just below the area where China has conducted military exercises in recent days.
The exercise area overlaps with Vietnam's Block 113, where China deployed the Kan Tan 3 drilling rig in 2004.
The announcement of the drilling operation in Block 115/09 was made on March 14, as China was preparing to conclude the exercise.
It is not clear if there is a connection between these two events. However, 115-Dan Tranh-1X well lies outside the so-called "nine-dashed line".
Russia will conduct missile drills off the coast of Vladivostok from March 18 to 31.
Earlier, many Russian naval vessels were spotted traveling from the Pacific Ocean into the Sea of Japan.
The Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Arunta and a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft recently joined US Navy destroyer USS Momsen and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer JS Yudachi for training in the South China Sea.
Japan navy delegation visit Ream Naval Base - The Phompenh Post
Taiwan holds live-fire military drills on islands close to mainland - RFA
China Planned Taiwan Invasion in Fall, Alleged Russian Intel Leak Claims - Newsweek
U.S. carrier displays air power over Yellow Sea as North Korea may be set to test long-range missile - Reuters
While the 7th Fleet statement said that aircraft from the USS Abraham Lincoln took part in the exercises, it seems that the carrier did not enter the Yellow Sea. It still operates in the Philippine Sea.
F-35s have encountered J-20s over East China Sea: USAF general - Flight Global