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Newsline: No comment from Chinese embassy in Manila on vessels ‘swarming’ in disputed waters

The Chinese embassy in Manila refrained from comment on reported swarming of Chinese vessels in Iroquois Reef and Sabina Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. The Philippines’ defence chief on Wednesday said the reported presence of dozens of Chinese vessels in disputed waters in the South China Sea was an “unacceptable” action that violates the country’s sovereignty. “The president’s order to the department is clear – we will not give up a single square inch of Philippine territory,” Jose Faustino, the officer-in-charge at the Department of National Defense said in a statement. (https://neuters.de/world/philippines-concerned-over-chinese-vessels-swarming-disputed-waters-defence-2022-12-14/) Manila refers to the part of the South China Sea that it claims as the West Philippine Sea. The Philippines had won a landmark arbitration case in 2016, which invalidated Beijing’s expansive claims in the South China Sea where about $3 trillion worth of ship-borne trade passes annually. The ruling, which China refused to recognise, states that the Philippines has sovereign rights to exploit energy reserves inside its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone, where both Iroquois Reef and Sabina Shoal are located. Iroquois is 127 nautical miles from the Philippine island of Palawan in the disputed waters, which U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visited last month to reiterate Washington’s defence commitments to Manila and its support for the 2016 arbitration ruling. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr will go to Beijing next month for a state visit.

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