Chinese militia vessels in WPS show Beijing’s endless blatant disregard of PH EEZ
MANILA, Philippines — The presence of Chinese militia vessels in the West Philippine Sea, particularly in Ayungin Shoal, shows that China continues to ignore the Philippines’ legal ownership of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Thursday.
PCG Commodore Jay Tarriela made the remark after the agency spotted 30 suspected Chinese militia vessels in the West Philippine Sea — 26 of which were in Sabina Shoal while four were in Ayungin Shoal.
Among the vessels in Ayungin is the CCG-5304 vessel, which maintained a constant close distance of not more than one nautical mile from BRP Sierra Madre.
“Ito ay nagpapakita rin na hanggang ngayon ini-ignore nila [China] ang ating legal ownership ng EEZ sa Ayungin Shoal,” Tarriela said when asked about the meaning of China’s continued presence in Philippine waters.
(It shows that until now, China has been ignoring our legal ownership of our EEZ in Ayungin Shoal.
The recent development came after the February 6 incident in the Ayungin Shoal, where a Chinese Coast Guard flashed a military-grade laser light toward the PCG vessel, temporarily blinding its crew.
The PCG said upon arriving in Sabina Shoal, the PCG aircraft received “inaudible” radio challenges from China Coast Guard (CCG)-5304, prompting the PCG aircraft to issue its own radio challenge as well to drive the vessel away.
READ: Coast Guard spots 30 suspected Chinese militia vessels in Sabina, Ayungin shoal
Tarriela said the Philippine government is intensifying its presence in the West Philippine Sea in response to China’s recent activities there.
For its part, the PCG has deployed one offshore patrol vessel and one 44-MRV vessel on the Ayungin Shoal.
Tarriela said the Philippine Navy and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have also deployed their own assets in the area.
“Ang PCG regardless of our limited assets, will make sure that in our waters in the EEZ in West Philippine Sea na mananatili ang aming presensya at ang pagpatrol at protektahan ang interest ng bawat Pilipinong mangingisda,” he said.
(The PCG, regardless of our limited assets, will make sure that we will maintain our presence in Philippine waters, inside our EEZ, and we will continue to patrol and protect Filipino fishermen.)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.