Chinese Vessels Spotted in West Philippine Sea: Recent Sightings and Decrease in Numbers

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Chinese Vessels Monitored in the West Philippine Sea

A total of 104 assorted Chinese vessels have been monitored in Philippine-held or claimed features in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) from April 30 to May 6, according to data provided by Philippine Navy spokesman for the WPS, Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad.

During this period, these vessels were seen in seven features in the WPS. Let’s take a closer look at the specific locations where these vessels were spotted:

Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal)

In Scarborough Shoal, three China Coast Guard vessels (CCGVs), two People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) ships, 16 Chinese Maritime Militia vessels, and two rigid-hulled inflatable floats were monitored.

Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal)

In Ayungin Shoal, three CCGVs and 30 Chinese Maritime Militia vessels were observed.

Pagasa Island

At Pagasa Island, one CCGV, two PLAN ships, and 35 Chinese Maritime Militia vessels were monitored.

Kota Island

One CCGV and one Chinese Maritime Militia vessel were spotted near Kota Island.

Lawak Island

A single CCGV was observed near Lawak Island.

Panata Island

Six Chinese Maritime Militia vessels were monitored near Panata Island.

Patag Island

One CCGV was seen near Patag Island.

It is worth noting that there were no sightings of Chinese ships in Parola and Likas Islands during this period, as reported by Commodore Trinidad.

Comparing the recent figures to the previous week, there has been a decrease in the number of vessels. From April 23 to 29, a total of 129 vessels were recorded in the same features. This indicates a slight decline in the presence of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

Understanding the significance of these numbers requires a broader context. The West Philippine Sea is an area of territorial dispute between the Philippines and China. The Philippines asserts its sovereignty over the features and waters within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) based on international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

China, on the other hand, claims historical rights over the area, which is known as the South China Sea in international discourse. This conflicting territorial claim has led to tensions between the two countries, with both sides closely monitoring each other’s activities in the region.

The presence of Chinese vessels, including coast guard ships, navy vessels, and maritime militia, in the West Philippine Sea has been a subject of concern for the Philippines and other countries in the region. These vessels have been involved in various activities, such as conducting patrols, asserting territorial claims, and supporting China’s presence in disputed areas.

The monitoring and reporting of Chinese vessel activities in the West Philippine Sea are crucial for the Philippines to ensure its national security and protect its sovereign rights. It allows the Philippine government to have a clear understanding of the situation in the area and make informed decisions regarding its response.

International laws, including UNCLOS, play a significant role in determining the rights and responsibilities of states in maritime disputes. The Philippines has been actively pursuing legal avenues to assert its claims and seek a peaceful resolution to the territorial dispute.

Efforts to address the issue include diplomatic negotiations, arbitration proceedings, and engaging with other countries and international organizations that have a stake in the region. The Philippines has sought the support of its allies, such as the United States and other ASEAN member states, to collectively address the challenges posed by China’s assertive actions in the West Philippine Sea.

While the recent decrease in the number of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea may provide some temporary relief, it is essential to remain vigilant and continue monitoring the situation. The presence and activities of Chinese vessels in the area remain a significant concern for the Philippines and its neighboring countries.

As the situation in the West Philippine Sea continues to evolve, it is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize dialogue, diplomacy, and adherence to international law. Peaceful resolution and respect for the rights of all states are essential for maintaining stability and promoting cooperation in the region.

The Philippines remains committed to upholding its sovereign rights and pursuing a peaceful and rules-based approach to resolve the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea. By actively engaging with the international community and asserting its rights under international law, the Philippines aims to find a lasting and mutually beneficial solution to the ongoing challenges in the region.

Source: The Manila Times

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