The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported that about 42 Chinese maritime militia vessels lingered near Pag-asa Island on Monday after first being spotted in the area this weekend.
The vessels, first seen in the area on Saturday morning, were estimated at a distance of 4.5 to 8 nautical miles from the islands, the PCG, quoted by ABS-CBN News, said.
Commodore Jay Tarriela, PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, quoted by the report, said the vessels “are still there in the vicinity of Pag-asa, they haven’t left. In the videos, you can see the Chinese maritime militia vessels anchored there despite the strong current and big waves. That’s all they’re doing these past days.”
Based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Award, the observed location of the Chinese vessels is within Pag-asa Island’s 12-nautical mile territorial sea.
The PCG said that the vessels’presence in the area was a form of harassment.
“For PCG, we have sovereignty over the territorial sea around Pag-asa Island. The presence of these Chinese vessels… is a form of harassment of our sovereignty. They are doing nothing there,” the official further said.