The Philippines previously spotted unknown structures installed on a series of Manila-claimed islands and reefs in the disputed South China Sea during maritime patrols, where “a flotilla” of Chinese fishing vessels was earlier tracked by the military.
A warning has been issued to Beijing that a surge in territorial “incursions” by Chinese vessels in the South China Sea “may trigger unwanted hostilities that both countries would rather not pursue”, reported Reuters.
The prolonged presence of the boats in the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) was fraught with potential to strain bilateral relations, according to Salvador Panelo, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
Earlier in March, Manila lodged a diplomatic protest over the presence of Chinese boats inside its 200-mile exclusive economic zone at Whitsun Reef in the South China Sea as “swarming and threatening”, insisting that the vessels were manned by Beijing’s maritime militia.
The Philippines subsequently spotted unknown structures installed on a series of reefs where the “flotilla” of Chinese fishing vessels was earlier tracked.
“The Laws of the Sea gives the Philippines indisputable and exclusive rights over the area. These constructions and other activities, economic or otherwise, are prejudicial to the peace, good order, and security of our territorial waters. These structures are illegal”, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Armed Forces of…