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Chinese Coast Guard tries to shoo away PCG vessel in Ayungin Shoal

A Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessel tried to drive away a Philippine Coast Guard ship that was conducting a maritime domain awareness (MDA) flight in Ayungin Shoal on Tuesday, GMA News’ Unang Balita reported Friday.

The PCG has released a video where a radio challenge from China can be heard telling the PCG to leave the area even though it is within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.

“You are entering the security of (Chinese)...Leave immediately the area of control as to (prevent)...any misunderstanding,” it said.

The PCG received the radio challenge while they were holding an MDA flight where they spotted the CCG vessel only one mile from away Philippine vessel BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

According to the PCG, it will continue its patrols in the area.

China has yet to comment about the radio challenge, the report said.

During the MDA flight, the PCG spotted 30 suspected Chinese maritime militia vessels and one CCG vessel in Ayungin Shoal and Sabina Shoal.

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) earlier said the PCG's Cessna Caravan 2081 flew over the area to observe and conduct radio challenges to CCG vessels.

The PCG plane approached 10 nautical miles off Ayungin Shoal and issued a radio challenge over CCG 5304 vessel to leave the area immediately.

However, the Chinese vessel issued an “unclear” radio challenge and maintained its presence in the shoal, according to the NTF-WPS. 

The report comes at a time the Philippines has protested a laser-pointing incident by a Chinese ship on a PCG vessel near Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal. 

Defending its coast guard’s action, Beijing accused the Philippine Coast Guard vessel of intruding into the waters off the Ren’ai Reef “without Chinese permission.” China claims the South China Sea nearly in its entirety. — Joviland Rita/RSJ, GMA Integrated News