Chinese vessels seen in Julian Felipe Reef are unmanned, says NSC spox
MANILA, Philippines— The Chinese vessels in Julian Felipe Reef appear to be unmanned, being left as a territorial demarcation, according to National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson Jonathan Malaya on Monday.
This came after a total of 135 Chinese vessels were monitored in the Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea over the weekend.
“Sa pagmomonitor natin, wala ring tao yung mga yan. Pinark lang nila yan diyan,” said Malaya on the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon briefing.
(In our monitoring, there is no one there. They just parked it there.)
Malaya said that there could be a skeletal crew operating them, but he said that they were mostly there a sa status symbol.
“Mostly it’s just there, just to show to the world na ‘itong lugar na yan ay sa amin’. And tayo po, we do not accept that. And we will also, we are deploying our assets as well para mapakita sa China na hindi natin ito tinatanggap at pinoprotesta natin ang pag-swarming na kanilang ginagawa,” said Malaya.
(Mostly it’s just there, just to show to the world that ‘this place is ours.’ And we do not accept that. And we will also, we are deploying our assets as well to show China that we do not accept this and we protest this swarming that they have done.)
Tensions with Beijing over the West Philippine Sea have steadily escalated in 2023, with Chinese aggression coming in the form of harmful lasers and water cannon blasts.