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National security officials see less tension in Spratlys

Jaime Laude - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - National security officials are seeing an improved security situation in the Spratlys as China is shifting its aggressive territorial claim towards the East China Sea.

China and Japan have been locked in a tense territorial row over ownership of the Senkaku island group for weeks now, with Beijing planning to send more fishing vessels to the contested waters around the island it calls Diaoyu in the East China Sea.

Six Chinese surveillance ships and reportedly a thousand fishing boats of various sizes are expected to arrive off Senkaku to stake China’s claim on the area.

“The unfolding territorial row in East China Sea has resulted in an improved maritime security in the West Philippine Sea,” a security official said.

The security official said their daily territorial monitoring in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and at the country’s regime of islands in the hotly contested Spratlys archipelago has not detected any incursion of Chinese vessels for several days now, especially within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“We could only assume that China is looking at Japan as a very serious threat to its maritime domain claim in the East China Sea and is refocusing its attention toward the region as compared to the Philippines,” he said.

BEIJING

CHINA

CHINA AND JAPAN

DIAOYU

EAST CHINA SEA

SEA

SENKAKU

SIX CHINESE

SOUTH CHINA SEA

SPRATLYS

WEST PHILIPPINE SEA

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