China insists on sovereignty over Panatag Shoal, Pag-asa island amid Philippine coast guard exercises
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) – April 27, 2021 – 12h53
MANILA, Philippines – Beijing on Monday insisted it had jurisdiction over the Philippine Sea as a result of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) maritime exercises in the region.
Last Saturday, PCG and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessels conducted maritime exercises near Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc.
Coast Guard vessels have also been deployed near Pag-asa (Thitu) Island for their interoperability training.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry, however, called on the Philippines to end such actions.
“China enjoys sovereignty over the Nansha (Spratly) Islands, including Zhongye (Thitu) Island and the Zhongsha Islands, including Huangyan (Scarborough Shoal) Island and their adjacent waters, and exercises jurisdiction over them. affected waters, ”Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a press briefing. Monday.
Wang was referring to Panatag Shoal, which the Chinese call Huangyan Island, and Pag-asa Island, which they call Zhongye Island, where the PCG recently conducted exercises.
Panatag Shoal is a traditional fishing spot off the coast of Zambales while the island of Pag-asa is under the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Kalayaan in Palawan.
“We urge the concerned party to respect China’s sovereignty and rights and interests, and to stop actions that complicate the situation and exacerbate the disputes,” Wang said.
In a press release, the PCG said the exercises aimed to intensify their training in navigation, small boat operations, maintenance and logistics operations.
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Posted by the Philippine Coast Guard on Saturday, April 24, 2021
BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301) and BRP Sindangan (MRRV-4407) were deployed to Panatag Shoal while BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409), BRP Malapascua (MRRV-4403) and Coast Guard BFARs were dispatched to the island of Pag-asa. .
“We support the pan-national approach in securing our maritime jurisdiction, in particular the efforts of the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) to undertake maritime security, maritime security, enforcement of maritime law, maritime research and the roles of rescue and protection of the marine environment in our country’s waters, ”said PCG spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo.
On April 21, the Foreign Ministry filed two more diplomatic protests against the continued presence of at least 160 Chinese fishing vessels and maritime militia vessels in the western Philippine Sea.
The new protests were in addition to the daily protests the DFA files each day Chinese ships stay at Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef.