MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines has installed a navigation buoy within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to assert sovereignty over the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, a Coast Guard spokesman said on Sunday.
The move comes amid increasingly aggressive China actions in the South China Sea as Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. seeks closer ties with treaty ally the United States.
From May 10 to 12, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) flew flags in five areas within a 200-mile (322 km) radius, including Whitsun Reef, where hundreds of Chinese ships were anchored. He announced that he had installed a buoy. 2021 years.
“This move underscores the Philippines’ unwavering determination to protect its maritime borders and resources, and contribute to the security of maritime trade,” Brigadier General Jay Talliera, the Coast Guard commander in charge of South China Sea affairs, said on Twitter.
The Chinese embassy in Manila did not respond to a request for comment.
In May 2022, the Coast Guard installed five navigation buoys on four Spratly islands.
China’s sovereignty claims over most of the South China Sea have been nullified by a 2016 international arbitration award.
Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim territorial claims in the Spratly Islands, and China has dredged sand to build islands on reefs and equip them with missiles and airstrips.
Over the years, the Chinese government has deployed hundreds of coast guards and fishing boats to conflict areas.
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales, Editing by Clarence Fernandez)