PCG: Fewer Chinese vessels in WPS but warship remains
MANILA, Philippines — The number of suspected Chinese maritime militia vessels in the West Philippine Sea has decreased, but a warship of the People’s Liberation Army remains in the area, the Philippine Coast Guard said on Friday.
“The PCG noted a decrease in the number of suspected CMM vessels observed over Pag-asa — from forty-two last week to fifteen yesterday,” PCG spokesperson for West Philippine Sea Affairs Commodore Jay Tarriela said in a statement.
“The PLA Navy’s Jiangdao Class warship and CCG vessel 5203 continue to loiter within Pag-asa’s twelve (12)-nautical mile territorial sea,” Tarriela added.
In 2016, the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated China’s claim to almost the entire South China Sea.
The Philippines, under the administration of then President Benigno Aquino III in 2013, challenged before the Hague court China’s claim that it owned more than 80 percent of the South China Sea, which included waters in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
The tribunal ruled that China’s claim had no basis in international law and that it had violated the Philippines’ sovereign right to fish and explore resources in the West Philippine Sea, the waters within the country’s 370-kilometer EEZ in the South China Sea.
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