Chinese ship spotted near Pag-asa Island during Apec | Global News

Chinese ship spotted near Pag-asa Island during Apec

/ 02:30 PM November 19, 2015

A Chinese Coast Guard vessel was spotted near the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island in the Spratlys.

A Chinese Coast Guard vessel spotted near the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island in the Spratlys. Photo courtesy of Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr.

A Chinese Coast Guard vessel was spotted near the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island (Thitu) in the Spratlys in the South China Sea where it stayed for several days, its town mayor said.

“It suddenly showed up on November 9 a few hours after our ship arrived in the morning,” Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr. told by phone on Thursday.


The Philippines is host to the 27th annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Leaders from 21 countries around the Pacific, including global economic giants United States, China, Russia, and Japan, came to the Philippines from November 16 to 18, 2015.


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Bito-onon’s ship, the M/L Queen Seagull, which has a capacity of about 250 tons, was in Pag-asa island to replenish supplies as most of the supplies for the residents come from Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Coast Guard vessel with bow number 2305 was four miles southwest from the shore and stayed there for nine days. As of noontime of Nov. 17, it had already left. It was spotted on that morning, and the island’s administrator was able to take photos.

The town’s ship remained in the island and the incident prompted the Philippine Navy to be on alert, he said.

There was no harassment from the Chinese, but Bito-onon said it was the first time that a Chinese vessel stayed close to the island for several days.

“These kinds of coast guard ships are those that harass us in Ayungin Shoal,” the mayor said.


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Pag-asa is the largest of the island claims of the Philippines in the disputed South China Sea and is a fifth-class municipality with about 200 residents. It is the second biggest island in the whole of Spratlys and is located 480 kilometers off the coast of Palawan.

China has sweeping claims in the South China Sea, and it has massively built artificial islands in seven reefs. Its activities in nearby Subi Reef are visible from Pag-asa island.

BACKSTORY: China says island building to finish ‘within days’

Reports and satellite images said that China is building a runway in Subi Reef, and analysts say it could potentially pose a threat on Philippine flights to Pag-asa island when it becomes operational.


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TAGS: China, Chinese coast guard, island, Kalayaan, maritime dispute, Pag-asa, Philippines, ship, South China Sea, Spratlys, vessel

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