Chinese ships still in Ayungin Shoal

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MANILA, Philippines—Chinese ships are still in the Ayungin Shoal but the Philippines will continue to maintain its presence there as well, despite limited forces and resources, to assert its own territorial claim to the resource-rich area in the West Philippine Sea.

The military will “continuously monitor our good friends in the area with what is available with my command and we provide the reports to the national leadership for their appreciation,” said Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, chief of the Armed Forces Western Command.

“We will not leave Ayungin,” Guerrero said.

The Philippines has marked its territorial claim over Ayungin with the aging BRP Sierra Madre which, despite its sorry state, proudly flies the Philippine flag.

The Sierra Madre was intentionally grounded in the shoal in 1999 to ensure that the Chinese will not claim Ayungin the way it took over Mischief Reef in 1995.

Guerrero said the number of Chinese vessels in the area varies from one to three.

“They are not taking over, they are just monitoring actually … We are protecting our respective posts,” he said.

Guerrero said the situation in the Ayungin Shoal was not a “standoff” but more of “observing one another” at sea.

He also said that the Chinese did not harass the Philippine ship that brought fresh troops and supplies to the Ayungin Shoal last month.

The Philippines and China remain entangled in a territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea, with China claiming all islands within its controversial nine-dash line, including those territories claimed by the Philippines and other countries in the Spratlys group of islands.

China has of late become more aggressive in staking its claim, sending naval ships to the disputed territories, just as the United States began its “rebalancing” of forces in the Asia-Pacific region. Nikko Dizon

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • $31552910

    In the past 20 years, not much of the defense budget was spent for the external defense of the Philippines. The focus or priority of the Philippine military was not external defense but to protect the narrow interests of political dynasties and foreign strategic and corporate interests. The Philippine military became subservient and dependent on foreign military presence or access and foreign military assistance. The lack of priority in external defense, over-dependence on foreign military presence and assistance, and corruption in the military have seriously compromised the defense posture of the Philippines. To cover up their ineptness and incompetence and disastrous national defense strategy, the Philippine military and defense officials have been shifting the blame to the senators who upheld Philippine sovereignty and voted against foreign military bases. Congress should conduct an inquiry whether some military and defense officials played any role in sabotaging, undermining or hindering the defense preparations of the Philippines to justify allowing foreign military presence or access in the Philippines. The Philippines has to adopt a more independent foreign policy and a more self-reliant national defense strategy to defend its maritime territories and prevent the partitioning of Philippine territory.

  • valsore

    Why can we not dislodge these invaders who trample our sacred shores?

    • I’mAmerican

      We’ll our armed forces is too afraid…tsktsk

  • I’mAmerican

    Pinturahan nyo yung sierra madre para namn malibang mga nakadestino dun! nkakalungkot itsura parang squatter lang sa dagat.

  • opinyonlangpo

    The picture is probably Kalayaan Island. The Ayungin Shoal is a shoal, not an island with airstrip and residential structures. Misinformation by PDI.

  • RiverHorse

    i’d be more worried about those which we do not see.

  • SaintJames2011

    Chinese authorities have failed to identify specific historical evidence backing Beijing’s claims that it owns disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea, a confidential US embassy cable published by anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks said.

    Cable 08BEIJING3499, sent to Washington by the US embassy in Beijing in September 9, 2008, said a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) official and a local scholar could not identify specific historical records to justify China’s “Nine Dashes” claim that covers the whole Spratlys and areas within other countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZs).

  • joboni96

    tuloy pagpalakas ng depensa
    yan lang naiintindihan ng intsik switik

    kaso after 3 years of pnoy
    wala pa ring missile corvettes at fighters

    mga kolonisadong utak kasi sa dnd at afp
    mahilig sa pormang magarbo at sa laki kita

    kikita rin kayo sa mga surplus na mabilis dumating
    lalakas pa pilipino sa in-country upgrading

  • Ernie Aldea

    Boycott all Chinese product! Mga kababayan ito lang ng paraan para magisip-isip ang dambuhalang ganid na intsik.

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