Philippines accuses more than 100 Chinese ships appearing at Batou Shoal

The Philippines accused China of causing instability when it deployed more than 100 ships around Ba Dau Shoal in Vietnam’s Spratly Islands in April.

Philippine officials discovered more than 100 Chinese fishing boats appeared around Ba Dau Shoal, an feature located in the territorial waters of Sinh Ton Dong island in Vietnam’s Truong Sa archipelago since April, but new information has been released by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs. announced on June 9, after sending a protest note to the Chinese embassy in Manila.

Chinese ships anchor at Ba Dau beach near Sinh Ton Dong island, in Vietnam's Truong Sa archipelago, on March 23.  Photo: Reuters.

A Chinese ship anchored at Ba Dau beach in the Spratly archipelago of Vietnam in March 2021. Image: Reuters.

“The long-term illegal presence of Chinese ships is not only an illegal act, but also a source of regional instability. We urge China to comply with its obligations under international law, stop demonstrate irresponsible behavior and avoid escalation,” the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Philippine officials did not say whether Beijing had responded to the note or if the Chinese fishing boats were still present in the area.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila has not yet commented on the report.

Ba Tou Beach is where China’s fleet of more than 200 ships began anchoring in early March 2021, turning on the lights all night and not fishing despite favorable weather. Manila insists the ships are operated by “China’s maritime militia”, but Beijing denies and says they are just “fishing boats” anchored to avoid bad weather.

By the end of March, after facing a fierce reaction from the international community, the group of Chinese ships left Ba Dau Shoal, scattered throughout the Spratlys, some reaching Khuc Giac rock which is also under Vietnamese sovereignty. about 200 km.

Location of Sinh Ton Dong island (circled in red) belongs to Sinh Ton cluster in Truong Sa archipelago.  Graphics: Wikipedia/RobertJordan.

Location of Sinh Ton Dong island (circled in red) belongs to Sinh Ton cluster in Truong Sa archipelago. Graphics: Wikipedia/RobertJordan.

Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang in April 2021 affirmed that the activities of Chinese ships within the territorial sea of ​​Sinh Ton Dong island in the Spratly archipelago infringed upon Vietnam’s sovereignty. , violate international law and ask China to stop violating and respect Vietnam’s sovereignty.

Vu Anh (Theo AFP)

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