The Philippine Coast Guard said on Saturday Chinese vessels—one from the Navy, one from Coast Guard, and 42 suspected maritime militia ships—were spotted near Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.
“These Chinese vessels are estimated to have a distance of approximately 4.5 to 8 nautical miles from Pag-asa Island, clearly inside the land feature’s 12-nautical-mile territorial sea,” the PCG said in a statement.
The PCG said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy vessel and China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel 5203 were observed to be “slowly loitering” within the surrounding waters of the island.
Fourteen suspected Chinese maritime militia vessels were anchored within the vicinity of Pag-asa Cay 3, while 28 vessels were seen within the area of Pag-asa Cay 4.
“Their continuing unauthorized presence is clearly inconsistent with the right of innocent passage and a blatant violation of the Philippines’ territorial integrity,” the PCG said.