Diplomatic protest filed vs surge of Chinese vessels in WPS – Panelo
MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang on Monday said the Philippine government has already filed a diplomatic protest against China over the presence of hundreds of Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, however, did not divulge details of the protest.
“I understand we have already issued a diplomatic protest, (as) per the Western Command. The DFA has already made a diplomatic protest over it,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo added that he will raise the issue with Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua during their meeting Monday afternoon in Malacañang.
The Palace official also described as “exaggerated” a report claiming that over 600 Chinese vessels have been “circling” around the Philippine-held Pag-asa Island, noting that the vessels were stationary.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines earlier reported a surge in the number of vessels from a Chinese fishing fleet around Philippine-occupied islands in the West Philippine Sea this year.
The Philippines filed a case challenging China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea before the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2013.
The arbitral tribunal favored the Philippines three years later, but China refused to recognize the ruling.
President Duterte, meanwhile, opted to set aside the enforcement of the landmark decision and instead engage in bilateral talks with China. / gsg
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