By Chris King • 21 March 2021 • 23:58
Philippine Defense Chief Demands 200-Plus Chinese Flotilla Leaves Disputed Reef.
PHILIPPINE Defense Chief Demands That A 200-Plus Chinese Flotilla Leaves The Disputed Whitsun Reef
Delfin Lorenzana, the Defense Secretary of the Philippines today, Sunday 21, demanded that more than 200 Chinese vessels that he claimed are manned by militias, should leave the South China Sea Whitsun Reef that Manila lays claim to, saying their presence was a “provocative action of militarizing the area”.
The official said in a statement, “We call on the Chinese to stop this incursion and immediately recall these boats violating our maritime rights and encroaching into our sovereign territory,” adding that the Philippines would uphold its sovereign rights, but without elaborating
Teodoro Locsin, the Philippines Foreign Secretary, late Sunday tweeted that the Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest over the Chinese presence.
A Philippines government watchdog that oversees the disputed region – which China also claims rights to – said that about 220 Chinese vessels were seen moored at Whitsun Reef, and released pictures of the vessels moored side by side.
Whitsun reef is a boomerang-shaped and shallow coral region about 175 nautical miles west of Bataraza town in the western Philippine province of Palawan and is known in Manila as Julian Felipe, and is situated well within the country’s exclusive economic zone, with the government watchdog saying it is in a region which the Philippines “enjoys the exclusive right to exploit or conserve any resources”.
He added that the large numbers of Chinese boats are “a concern due to the possible overfishing and destruction of the marine environment, as well as risks to the safety of navigation,” although it added, the vessels were not fishing when sighted.
Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, a Philippine military chief, said the military’s “utmost priority remains to be the protection of our citizens in the area, particularly our fishermen, through increased maritime patrols”.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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