3 CMS ships located off Ayungin Shoal

June 4, 2013 10:22 pm 

MANILA, June 4 — Military sources on Tuesday announced that three China Maritime Surveillance ships were spotted off Ayungin Shoal which lies 120 nautical miles away from Palawan and well within the Philippines' 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

The presence of the Chinese vessels was confirmed by Filipino patrols Monday night.

The sources stressed the continued Chinese presence in the area seems to suggest that China is bent on establishing a foothold in the territory.

“To establish (a) foothold, the way they did in Mischief Reef…it can be gleaned from their action in protesting against and demanding the removal of our Navy vessel.”

The official was referring to the grounded BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin Shoal which presence in the area is now being protested by China.

The Navy ship has been grounded there since 1999.

In 1995, China occupied Mischief Reef, 130 nautical miles from Palawan, initially by putting structures supposedly as shelters for fishermen.

Eventually, China established military garrison in the area, prompting protest from the Philippines.

Only last year, the Chinese engaged Philippine authorities in a two-month long standoff in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in Zambales.

Both parties agreed to a pull out but the Chinese have not left the area until now, military sources said. (PNA)

HBC/PFN

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