Chinese ships surround disputed island, Philippines files diplomatic protest

Prime News, International, (Manila), April 3:-The Philippines government has filed a strong protest against China as hundreds of Chinese vessels were seen near a Philippines-administered island in the South China Sea.

CNN quoted Jason Ramon, chief of public affairs for the Philippine military’s western command, as saying that at least 275 Chinese ships and boats have been spotted this year around Thitu Island, also known as Pag-asa Island in the Philippines.

Stating that Chinese ships “come and go” from the area, armed forces spokesperson Edgard Arevalo said that it is difficult to know the number of ships around the island at any one time.

“The information that we got is, the more likely intention is to establish their presence in the area,” he said.

Zhao Jianhua, China’s ambassador to the Philippines explained that Beijing was trying to verify and quantify the number of vessels around Thitu. He further stated that the said ships might be “unarmed” fishing vessels.

Thitu Island is a disputed territory. Several countries including China, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam have claimed Thitu as their own.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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