Aug 142014

5-6 Chinese coast guard vessels seen patrolling disputed waters, says AFP Chief

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Chinese Coast Guard ships. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—”China is getting bolder and bolder.”

That’s how Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Lieutenant General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. described China’s presence at the West Philippines Sea.

Catapang on Thursday said at least five to six Chinese coast guard vessels were seen patrolling at the disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea.

“There are about 5 to 6. They are in Ayungin shoal and also in Scarborough shoal,” he told reporters after the turnover of assault rifles at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

Catapang said most of the vessels were spotted at the Scarborough shoal or at the Ayungin shoal.

He mentioned that more Chinese coast guard vessels were seen patrolling in the disputed areas in the past.

The military chief said he already submitted a report to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) regarding the incident.

“It is already with the DFA,” he said, citing the AFP is just the “muscle” of the government in implementing directives on what actions to undertake at the West Philippine Sea.

He said that the Chinese government were continuing their reclamation activities in the disputed islands ignoring the Philippines motion before the United Nations International Tribunal on the Laws of the Sea (ITLOS).

The Philippines and China has been locked up in a long standing maritime dispute over the West Philippine Sea.

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