AFP: Chinese vessels outside PH territory
MANILA, Philippines – The huge Chinese fishing fleet in the Spratlys has not crossed Philippine boundaries, a military officer said Wednesday, July 18.
In a phone interview with Rappler, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Command spokesperson Lt Col Neil Estrella said the 30 Chinese fishing vessels have not entered the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
He said the AFP got this information as of Tuesday, July 17.
On Monday, July 16, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Raul Hernandez said the Philippines would like to ensure the Chinese vessels stay away from the country's 200 nautical mile (NM) EEZ.
"If these (ships) are going to our EEZ, we will file a protest because this is our EEZ and it is only the Philippines (that has) the sovereign right to explore, exploit and manage the resources in that area," Hernandez said.
Recent incidents have made China's presence felt in the disputed South China Sea, on top of the 4-month tension between the Philippines and China over Scarborough Shoal.
Late last week, a Chinese warship was stranded in Half Moon Shoal, and was eventually rescued. The DFA did not file a protest over it because it was “likely an accident.” (Read: PH on stranded ship: no protest.)
On Tuesday, China said it is set to establish a legislative body in its new city covering the South China Sea – Sansha. China is building political power in the area, experts said.
By Paterno Esmaquel II
18 July 2012