Philippines denounces Chinese ship exercises in disputed waters

Manila, Jul 5 (EFE).- The Philippine coast guard said Wednesday that Chinese ships were carrying out exercises around disputed islands between Manila and Beijing in the South China Sea.

“Several Chinese coast guard vessels chased our patrol boat and dangerously maneuvered within 100 yards (91 meters) of our position,” Philippine coast guard spokesman Armand Balillo told EFE.

The representative said this action, which occurred Friday, was intended to “intimidate and hinder” a supply operation in Ayungin, an atoll militarily occupied by the Philippines and where an almost identical incident occurred on Apr. 28.

The atoll, where Manila intentionally ran aground a former World War II ship in 1999 to reassert its sovereignty, is some 105 nautical miles off the coast of Palawan, in the southwest of the Philippine archipelago and within the 200-mile limit established by the UN to determine states’ maritime sovereignty.

“The Chinese coast guard is making an extra effort to prevent our ships from reaching Ayungin,” the Philippine coast guard said in a statement posted Wednesday on social media, speaking about the presence of two Chinese ships.

China and the Philippines are in a territorial dispute over sovereignty over several islands and atolls in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims as its own for “historical reasons,” even though some of them are within Philippine territorial waters.

Both countries collide, along with Taiwan, over full sovereignty of the Scarborough Atoll, and partially over the Spratly Islands, also disputed by Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam. EFE


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