A Chinese Coast Guard ship prepares to anchor at Manila port on Jan. 14, 2020, for a port call. Members of Chinese Coast Guard are in the Philippines to conduct inaugural joint maritime exercises between the two countries.
While Philippines welcomes China Coast Guard, another ship loiters near Ayungin Shoal
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - January 15, 2020 - 11:14am

MANILA, Philippines — As the Philippine Coast Guard officially welcomed its Chinese counterpart Tuesday, another China Coast Guard (CCG) ship has been located monitoring Ayungin or Second Thomas Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

Ryan Martinson, assistant professor at China Maritime Studies Institute, posted a photo of the track of a CCG ship near the shoal, where Filipino troops are stationed.

"Meanwhile, a China Coast Guard ship steams back and forth, menacing Philippine Marines posted at Second Thomas Shoal," Martinson posted on Twitter.

Martinson added that the ship operating near Ayungin Shoal is part of the same unit where the CCG ship visiting the Philippines belongs to.

CCG Vessel 5204 docked at the port of Manila Monday afternoon for a five-day goodwill visit.

On Tuesday morning, the PCG led by Adm. Joel Garcia held a welcome ceremony for CCG Director General Maj. Gen. Wang Zhongcai.

Last year, the Department of National Defense reported to the House of Representatives that CCG ships have been in close proximity to Ayungin Shoal since January 2019.

The DND also reported an incident wherein a CCG ship blocked the route of three Philippine civilian vessels on a resupply mission to grounded BRP Sierra Madre on the shoal.

The CCG vessel with bow number 3305 came as close as 1,600 yards to the Philippine boats, according to the DND.

Following this report, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin ordered the filing of a diplomatic protest over the entry of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

Ayungin Shoal is less than 20 nautical miles from Mischief Reef, one of China's artificial islands in the Spratlys

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