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Saturday, May 18, 2024

3rd China Coast Guard ship at Bajo de Masinloc

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The China Coast Guard has deployed another ship at Bajo de Masinloc, to join the buildup of Chinese vessels at Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal, ex-US Defense Attache Ray Powell said.

This brought the number of Chinese vessels swarming the area to 28 – three China Choast Guard ships and 25 Chinese militia vessels.

Powell provided digital imagery showing the trajectory of the third China Coast Guard ship as well as at least eight Chinese militia vessels and two CCG ships closer to the shoal.

The Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela said the number of Chinese vessels at Bajo de Masinloc, a rich fishing ground, has increased more than four-fold compared to its presence in February.

Beijing on Friday criticized the United States, Japan and the Philippines and defended its actions in the South China Sea as “lawful” after US President Joe Biden hosted a trilateral meeting in Washington.

A joint statement issued by the leaders of the trio of nations voiced “serious concern” over Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea, slamming its behavior as “dangerous and aggressive.”

Beijing claims almost the entirety of the South China Sea, brushing aside competing claims from several Southeast Asian nations including the Philippines.

China foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said Beijing “firmly opposes the relevant countries manipulating bloc politics, and firmly opposes any behavior that provokes or lays plans for opposition, and hurts other countries’ strategic security and interests”.

“We firmly oppose engaging in closed cliques that exclude others in the region,” Mao told a regular press conference.

“Japan and the Philippines can of course develop normal relations with other countries, but they should not invite factional opposition into the region, much less engage in trilateral cooperation at the cost of hurting another country’s interests. If these are not wanton smears and attacks on China, what are they?” she said.

“China’s actions in the East China Sea and South China Sea are appropriate and lawful, and beyond reproach,” Mao added. 


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