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South China Sea: Philippines sound alarm bells as China sends hundreds of boats in | World | News

The continued presence contained in the Philippines’ unique financial zone of hundreds of Chinese vessels that it believes are manned by militias has pissed off Manila and drawn concern from ally the United States, amongst others. “We will continue to resolve the issues on Julian Felipe through diplomatic channels and through peaceful means,” stated a press release from Duterte learn by his spokesman Harry Roque. But it has since stated it’s holding “all options open”.

An skilled informed Eagle News: “The Philippines department said on Thursday it’s keeping all its options open as a diplomatic row with Beijing grows over hundreds Chinese vessels in the contested South China Sea.

“Tensions over the resource-rich waters have heightened in latest weeks after greater than 200 Chinese boats had been detected in the Spratly islands the place China and the Philippines have rival claims.

“The Philippines has said it is keeping all its options open including leveraging partnerships with other nations such as the US.”

It comes as China has maintained that Whitsun Reef, recognized as Julian Felipe Reef in the Philippines, was a conventional fishing floor the place its vessels had been searching for shelter from hostile climate.

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China’s embassy in Manila didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Tuesday.

The firming down of the Philippine response comes a day after its overseas ministry stated it might protest day by day if China refused to withdraw boats that “blatantly infringe” on Philippine sovereign rights.

Duterte’s authorized counsel warned of “unwanted hostilities”.

Defying public opinion, Duterte has sought to build an alliance with China and has been reluctant to confront its management having been promised billions of {dollars} of loans and investments, a lot of which have but to materialise.

The Philippines’ defence chief stated on Sunday China was trying to occupy extra areas in the South China Sea, citing the continued presence of Chinese vessels that Manila believes are manned by militias in disputed elements of the strategic waterway.

“The continued presence of Chinese maritime militias in the area reveals their intent to further occupy (areas) in the West Philippine Sea,” Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana stated in a press release, utilizing the native identify for the South China Sea.

It was the second hostile assertion by Lorenzana in two days as he repeated calls by the Philippines for the Chinese boats to go away Whitsun Reef, which Manila calls the Julian Felipe Reef, positioned inside its 200-mile unique financial zone.

Chinese diplomats have stated the boats anchored close to the reef – numbering greater than 200 primarily based on preliminary intelligence gathered by Philippine patrols – had been sheltering from tough seas and that no militia had been aboard.

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