Chinese Coast Guard vessels give PCG ships ‘safe distance’ to pass in Ayungin Shoal
MANILA, Philippines — While still trying to block the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) from entering Ayungin Shoal, China Coast Guard (CCG) is now giving the country’s vessels a “safe distance” to pass.
This was the observation of PCG spokesperson for West Philippine Sea affairs Commodore Jay Tarriela, which he attributed to the recent move of the government to expose their activities in the West Philippine Sea.
The PCG vessels regularly enter the Ayungin Shoal for BRP Sierra Madre, a commissioned ship that hosts a small contingent of military personnel to assert the country’s claim to the disputed waters.
“I think, again, this may be a speculative observation but the mere fact that the Chinese Coast Guard vessels now— as part of their strategy in blocking our Coast Guard vessels to prevent us from entering Ayungin Shoal — is now giving us, you know, a safe distance from behind not from forward, is a good result as well of what we have been doing in the past,” Tarriela told reporters in a chance interview during an event in Pasay City on Thursday.
This was Tarriela’s reaction when asked if there are changes with the CCG following the PCG’s move to expose their activities.
Tarriela also said PCG recently conducted maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea from March 16 to March 21.
During its patrol in Ayungin Shoal, BRP Malapascua spotted a Chinese vessel called CCGV 5201, which came as close as 1.2 NM from the grounded Philippine Navy vessel BRP Sierra Madre.
The PCG also observed in their previous patrols that the presence of the suspected Chinese Maritime Militia in the disputed waters has decreased.
READ: PCG: Fewer Chinese vessels in WPS but warship remains
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