Navy reports reduced Chinese presence in West PH Sea | Global News

Navy reports reduced Chinese presence in West PH Sea

/ 02:34 PM February 13, 2024

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China Coast Guard 5305 (left) shadow TS Kapitan Felix Oca, the civilian mothership of a convoy in the West Philippine Sea last December 10, 2023. (Ryan Leagogo/

MANILA, Philippines — No Chinese vessels were spotted in four out of nine maritime features under the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea (WPS)  as of Tuesday morning, according to a Philippine Navy official.

Navy spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad said that no China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels and suspected Chinese maritime militias (CMM) were spotted in the vicinity of Patag Island, Rizal Reef, Likas Island and Lawak Island.


The military maintain outposts on these four features. 


Two CCG vessels and 11 suspected CMMs were spotted in five other maritime features during the same period, according to Trinidad.

There was one CCG vessel and four CMMs near Pagasa Island, the largest island in the Kalayaan Island Group which also serves as the seat of the local government of the municipality of Kalayaan, Palawan.

Also, there is only one CCG vessel within the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal, where grounded BRP Sierra Madre houses military personnel.

This development comes after Manila and Beijing’s Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (BCM) on South China Sea held in Shanghai last Jan. 17.

But Trinidad said perceived decrease of Chinese presence could not be directly attributed to the BCM, saying that the bigger picture should still be considered.


“The general direction, we have to understand, the broad direction of China is to control the South China Sea,” Trinidad said. 

“A simple change in actions or behavior does not indicate a change in their character,” he added.

The regular rotation and resupply mission of the country for the military outpost became the flashpoint of tension between Manila and Beijing, as the latter asserts claim to the entire South China Sea, which was effectively dismissed by a 2016 international tribunal ruling.

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TAGS: China, navy, West Philippine Sea

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