Lorenzana: Reports on China research ship in West PH Sea false
MANILA, Philippines—Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday (Aug 13) tagged as false reports about a China research vessel being spotted recently operating near Panatag Shoal inside West Philippine Sea.
“Contrary to some published reports regarding the Chinese research vessel Hai Da Hao, the AFP Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) has reported that the said vessel has not been spotted near Bajo de Masinloc as alleged,” Lorenzana said in a statement.
Citing ship tracking information, Ryan Martinson, of the US Naval War College, said last Wednesday (Aug. 11) that the ship Hai Da Hao was seen 65 nautical miles east of Scarborough Shoal, a traditional fishing ground within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. The area had been controlled by China in 2012.
The ship is being operated by the China Ocean University.
Lorenzana said that based on the Nolcom report and one-year historical track records he received, Hai Da Hao “did not pass through nor did it enter the area of responsibility of Naval Forces Northern Luzon.”
“Hai Da Hao is currently monitored at 30 nautical miles south of Huidong Xian, Huizhou Shi, China,” he said.
On Thursday night, Martinson said the Chinese vessel has left the Philippines’ EEZ.
But he said two more Chinese research ships were operating in the Philippines’ EEZ: Jia Geng, which is off Palawan; and Dong Fang Hong off Ilocos region.
Jia Geng was a subject of diplomatic protest by the Philippine government in 2020 after it was spotted off Northern Luzon without consent. China has claimed ownership of the West Philippine Sea and Philippine EEZ and is enforcing it at will.
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