West Philippine Sea Updates — April 2021
On MarcH 29, around 220 Chinese vessels were spotted in the West Philippine Sea. There were 44 Chinese “maritime militia” vessels moored and anchored at the Julian Felipe Reef. At Kennan Reef, there were 115 suspected militia boats, 45 near the Pag-asa Islands, and 50 more distributed in the Panganiban, Kagitingan, and Zamora Reefs. Four (4) People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) vessels were also spotted at the Panganiban Reef in the West Philippine Sea, all of which are part of the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).
As of now, Chinese maritime militia vessels remained anchored at the Whitsun Reef.
Secretary of National Defense, Delfin Lorenzana, disclosed on Saturday that at least 32 militia ships are still moored around the reef, which measures 30 kilometers in length and 50 kilometers in diameter, and situated 175 nautical miles from the island of Palawan.
Also, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Cirilito Sobejana said on Sunday that at least 28 Chinese ships, including from its military and paramilitary forces, are still anchored within the Philippines’ maritime waters, excluding Whitsun Reef. // Manila News
In line with that, the defense chiefs of the Philippines and the United States met on Sunday to find ways to strengthen security cooperation between the two countries.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken earlier reaffirmed the Biden administration’s support for the Philippines on the matter and assured the activation of the mutual defense treaty between the two states if necessary.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. on April 7 said they will fire off daily diplomatic protests for each day the foreign vessels refuse to leave Philippine territory. The country’s officials have issued stern statements regarding their presence, but the vessels still would not leave the area. Click for more
(West Philippine Sea Updates, marvill.com)
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