Philippines urges China to remove militia vessels on conflict reefs

The Philippine government said on March 31 that the number of Chinese vessels on coral reefs and islands in the conflicting South China Sea had increased to more than 250, increasing the demand for the Chinese administration to remove them immediately.

More than 10 days ago, Filipino troops detected about 200 vessels displaying the Chinese flag moored at the conflicting Whitson Reef, without fishing. The Philippine government believes that they are the People’s Armed Forces of the People’s Army (PAFMM) of the Chinese administration.

Philippine Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana has called on China’s counterparts to withdraw vessels from the waters of the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The United States has also expressed concern about this situation.Secretary of State Antony Blinken Called out China’s militarization in the South China Sea said at a NATO meeting on March 23 that it violated international law. On March 28, he tweeted in support of the Philippines.

The Chinese administration has denied that the ship is a maritime militia, claiming it is a fishing vessel. At a press conference on March 22, Hua Chunying said: Recently, some fishing boats have been evacuated from the nearby wind due to maritime circumstances. [Whitsun Reef], This is quite normal. “

But three experts It pointed out“In both February and March of this year, there were identified PAFMM vessels in the Whitsan lagoon that transmitted Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals.”

On March 31, the Philippine government said that the number of militia vessels had increased to more than 250 without leaving the port and spread to six disputed islands and coral reefs in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea.

Spratly Islands in the South China Sea
April 21, 2017, aerial photograph of the Spratly Islands, an uninhabited island in the disputed South China Sea. (Erik De Castro / Reuters)

The National Task Force of the Western Philippine Sea expressed deep concern that “they were not pulled out by Julian Felipe Reef and the illegal presence of Chinese naval forces now in other parts of Karajan continues. Island Group in Karajan City, Parawan Island ” statement..

The task force is statement, “The Philippines urges China to immediately withdraw these flag-raising vessels …. China’s claim of so-called” indisputable integrated sovereignty “over almost all of the South China Sea, both the Philippines and the international community. Will never accept. “

MTF also said military patrols had deployed four Chinese naval vessels on Mischief Reef. This is one of several submerged natural features of the Spratly Islands that China pioneered and turned into a military base.

Epoch Times Photo
An aerial photograph taken from the glass window of a military aircraft in the Philippines is said to have been reclaimed by China on May 11, 2015 at the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea in western Palawan, Philippines. (Ritchie B. Tongo / Pool / Reuters)

The Philippines claims that the resource-rich Spratly is its territory because the island chain is within the EEZ. China, Taiwan (formally known as the Republic of China), Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei also claim sovereignty.

2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague Arbitrage In the South China Sea, they were in favor of the Philippine EEZ claim rather than China’s historical claim. However, China has rejected the ruling, building artificial islands in conflict areas and building military facilities on occupied conflict islands.

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