Philippine plane fired upon
over Spratlys (05 Sep 02)
A Philippine military reconnaissance plane was fired upon while
flying over a Vietnamese-occupied island among the disputed Spratlys
chain in the South China Sea, a confidential armed forces report
Two Philippine OV-10 planes were flying about 305 m over Pugad
island on Saturday when Philippine troops at a nearby island heard
a shot ring out, the report said.
This prompted the military commanders to order the planes not
to fly over the island again. The report did not say who fired
the shot or if any damage was caused.
Pugad island lies west of the vast Philippine archipelago and
is occupied by Vietnam.
The Spratlys is a chain of islands, reefs and shoals which are
believed to sit atop oil and natural gas deposits.
They are claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam as well as Brunei,
China, Taiwan and Malaysia. All claimants but Brunei have troops
based on the islands.
The shooting occurred about two weeks before Chinese parliament
chief Li Peng is to visit the Philippines for talks that are expected
to include the Spratlys issue on the agenda.