Manila, June 14 (EFE).- A Chinese navy training ship docked in Manila on Wednesday for a “goodwill” visit amid diplomatic tensions between China and the Philippines over their territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
“Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Training Ship Qi Jiguang docks in Manila in the morning of June 14 for a four-day goodwill port call,” the Chinese embassy in the Philippines tweeted on Wednesday.
The ship will be open to the public and “host open-day activities including a deck reception,” the embassy said.
“A steady step in CN-PH defense cooperation, the visit is following the tradition of exchanges between the two militaries in addition to implementing the important consensus between the heads-of-state of China and the Philippines,” it added.
The ship’s arrival in Manila is part of the vessel’s regional tour that also includes stops in Vietnam, Thailand, and Brunei, the official Philippines News Agency reported.
The goodwill visit by the training ship comes amid growing diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Manila, which dispute the sovereignty of several islands and shoals off the western Philippine coast, in the waters of the South China Sea.
The territorial conflict has escalated in recent months, following allegations by the Philippines of the use of military lasers by Chinese ships against the Philippine coast guard, which accuses Beijing of harassing Filipino fishermen.
China claims most of the South China Sea and occupies several of the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal, located less than 200 nautical miles off the Philippine coast, a limit set by the UN to establish a country’s exclusive economic zone. EFE