Philippines protests China’s ‘threatening’ South China Sea presence

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MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines has sent two new conciliatory fights to China over its inability to pull out what it approached Friday “undermining” vessels that were massing in challenged spaces of the South China Sea.

The Philippines has sloped up its manner of speaking as of late ridiculous presence of many Chinese boats in its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), testing relations between two nations that have tried to mend their memorable breaks.

The Philippine unfamiliar service said oceanic authorities had noticed the “proceeded with unapproved presence and exercises” of 160 Chinese fishing and civilian army vessels around the contested Spratly islands and Scarborough reef, as of April 20.

Five Chinese coastguard vessels were also spotted around the areas.

“The continued swarming and threatening presence of the Chinese vessels creates an atmosphere of instability and is a blatant disregard of the commitments by China to promote peace and stability in the region,” the foreign ministry said.

It comes as the Philippines announces a boosting of its presence of vessels in its EEZ. Under international law, foreign vessels are permitted to make “innocent passage” through a country’s EEZ.

Chinese diplomats have denied that militia were aboard the vessels.

China’s embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday on the new protests.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, where about $3 trillion worth of ship-borne trade passes each year. An international arbitral tribunal in 2016 invalidated China’s expansive claim, which is based on its own maps.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have competing claims to various islands and features.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he was prepared to deploy navy ships to assert the country’s sovereign rights to oil and mineral resources in its EEZ, telling China that if it started drilling for oil, so will he.

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