Chinese fishing fleet still far from PHL territory

July 18, 2012 11:34 pm 

By Priam F. Nepomuceno

MANILA, July 18 — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Command chief Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban on Wednesday said that Chinese fishing fleet and its escort are still 100 nautical miles away from the nearest territory being claimed by the country.

"They (30 Chinese fishing vessels and the sole maritime surveillance ship) is still about 100 nautical miles southwest of Pagasa Island," Sabban said.

Sabban said that the location of the fishing fleet was still far from the Philippine' 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone (EEZ), as Pagasa Island, the largest of the nine geographical features being claimed by the country in the Spratlys, is about 240 nautical miles away from Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

He also said that the Chinese fleet was still operating in its own waters, which is near Fiery Cross Reef, a fixture once owned by Vietnam.

But despite this, the Western Command chief said that they were still monitoring the progress of the Chinese ships to determine if they would breach or intrude the country's EEZ.

And should this happen, Sabban said that he had instructed all units of the Western Command to intercept the erring ships.

A fleet of 30 Chinese fishing vessels from Hainan had arrived at a point near the Yongshu Reef in the Spratlys, parts of which are claimed by the Philippines, China, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam, around Monday.

The Philippines earlier warned the Chinese government from encroaching on Philippine waters, adding that such actions would merit strong protest actions. (PNA)

RMA/PFN

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