Philippines downplays US spy plane request

Updated 04 July 2012
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Philippines downplays US spy plane request

MANILA: The Philippines yesterday said the deployment of US spy planes, suggested by President Benigno Aquino, was just one option to monitor the country’s territory, as China appealed for stability in the region.
“If they happen at all, they are surveillance flights, they are not meant to be provocative. There’s no offensive capability here,” said the president’s spokesman Ricky Carandang. China’s foreign ministry, in an embassy statement quoting spokesman Liu Weimin, called on all parties to maintain “peace and stability” in the South China Sea.
“We have noticed the reports,” the ministry spokesman was quoted as saying. “It is the hope of the Chinese side that peace and stability can be maintained... and parties concerned do things conducive to regional peace and stability,” the statement said. It did not specify the Philippines or the United States or mention the almost-three month long dispute between China and the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.
The Scarborough Shoal dispute began after Chinese government vessels blocked Philippine ships from arresting Chinese fishermen near the shoal on April 10.
Both countries have been pressing their respective claims to the area with the poorly-equipped Philippines seeking the support of its main defense ally, the United States.
China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, even waters close to the coasts of neighboring countries. The Philippines says the shoal is well within its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.
The shoal sits about 230 kilometers (140 miles) from the western coast of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon.


US diplomat thinks Trump’s UK itinerary includes the queen

Updated 26 min 9 sec ago
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US diplomat thinks Trump’s UK itinerary includes the queen

LONDON: A top official at the US Embassy in London says he thinks President Donald Trump will meet Queen Elizabeth II during his visit to Britain next month.
Deputy Chief of Mission Lew Lukens told reporters on Thursday that planning for the July trip was delayed by Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore last week.
Lukens says Trump’s itinerary includes a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May. He said he believes Trump also will have an engagement with the queen, “but we don’t have any details at this point.”
Lukens’ spoke during a presentation of a new documentary by Britain’s Channel 4, “Inside the American Embassy.” The film shows US diplomats discussing Trump making a pomp-filled UK visit next year, just weeks after Britain’s departure from the European Union.