China opens maritime rescue center in West Philippine Sea
China has opened a maritime rescue center on the Philippine-claimed Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef in the West Philippine Sea, state-run media reported on Tuesday.
China’s Ministry of Transport opened the new facility on the reclaimed South China Sea outpost, which Beijing calls Yongshu Reef, Xinhua said in a report.
“The center will offer better support to maritime rescue operations in the southern part of the South China Sea,” the ministry was quoted as saying.
Xinhua also reported that China deployed another rescue ship on Zamora (Subi) Reef in October last year to replace the first one it deployed in July.
China earlier announced that it would station a search and rescue ship on Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, which, like Kagitingan and Zamora reefs, is also within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone.
“Over the past six months, the two ships have rescued 16 people and two ships in eight operations. Property worth about 12 million yuan ($1.7 million) has been salvaged,” Xinhua said.
China claims nearly all of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer South China Sea, including waters close to the shores of the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam. —Frances Mangosing
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