Maritime authorities on Wednesday reported that there were 287 Chinese maritime militia vessels scattered in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea….reports Asian Lite News
President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said that Philippine ships in the West Philippine Sea will not move an inch backward following reported incursions by nearly 300 Chinese militia vessels in the disputed territory.
“Our vessels are now there in Pag-asa and in other areas, we will not move an inch backward,” said Duterte in his public address, reported Manila Times.
Maritime authorities on Wednesday reported that there were 287 Chinese maritime militia vessels scattered in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr on Wednesday ordered the filing of another diplomatic protest against Beijing over the recent incident.
Despite his pronouncement, Duterte also reiterated that he does not want a quarrel with China.
I don’t want to quarrel with China. I really don’t want to. I repeat, we owe them a big debt of gratitude,” said Duterte.
Last month, Philippines had conducted maritime exercises in the disputed West Philippine Sea, as Chinese coast guard ships continue to amass near a disputed reef in the South China Sea.
Members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources began their “intensified” maritime training.
Eight capital ships of the national government had been deployed for the maritime exercises in Bajo De Masinloc and Pag-asa Island. The exercises covered navigation, small boat operations, maintenance, and logistical operations.
The vessels were also used to perform maritime drills in the Batanes Group of Islands, Benham Rise, as well as in the southern and eastern portions of the Philippines.
“We are supporting the whole-of-nation approach in securing our maritime jurisdiction, especially the efforts of the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea to undertake maritime security, maritime safety, maritime law enforcement, maritime search and rescue, and marine environmental protection roles in our country’s waters,” PCG spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo said.
China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
China has been increasing its maritime activities in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea over the past few months, partly in response to Beijing’s concerns over the increasing US military presence in the region because of escalating Sino-US tensions.
Beijing’s rising assertiveness against counter claimants in the East and South Sea has resulted in unprecedented agreement across the Indo-Pacific. (ANI)