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Chinese militia vessels near Pag-asa Island not responding to PH warnings — PCG

Chinese militia vessels near Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea are not responding to warnings issued by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), its spokesperson said Tuesday.

On Saturday, the PCG said Filipino coast guards stationed on the island reported the presence of a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy vessel, China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel 5203, and 42 suspected Chinese maritime militia (CMM) vessels.

“Ang coast guard station po natin sa Pag-asa ay patuloy pong tsina-challenge ito over the radio na sinasabi na ang 12 nautical miles ng Pag-asa Island ay territorial Sea ng Pilipinas at tayo ay may sovereignty dito,” PCG spokesman for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela said during a public briefing.

(Our coast guard in Pag-asa island challenged [the intrusion] over the radio as it is within 12 nautical miles of the island, which is a territory of the Philippines.)

“Ganon pa rin po ang ginagawa ng China, sila naman po ay hindi nag re-responde sa tawag ng ating coast guard personnel,” he added.

(China did not budge, they also did not respond to the calls of our coast guard personnel.)

Meanwhile, Tarriela said the PLA and other maritime militia vessels are still there.

“Ang coast guard vessels po natin at ang mga coast guard personnel na naka destino po sa bawat isla sa West Philippine Sea ay patuloy po ang pag challenge sa mga Chinese maritime militia, China coast guard vessel na umiikot po,” he said.

(Our coast guard personnel positioned in the islands of the West Philippine Sea continue to challenge the Chinese maritime militia still in the area.)

In 2013, the Philippines challenged China’s legal basis for its vast claim in the South China Sea before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands.

Manila won the case in a landmark award in 2016 after the tribunal invalidated Beijing’s assertions.

China, however, remains aggressive in its claim. Last month, a Chinese ship pointed a “military-grade” laser light at one of its vessels supporting a Philippine Navy rotation and resupply mission. The act was described by the Defense Department as "offensive and unsafe". 

The Philippines has since filed a diplomatic protest against China on the matter. —VAL, GMA Integrated News