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Philippines summons Chinese envoy, protests harassment of research ship in West Philippine Sea

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
Philippines summons Chinese envoy, protests harassment of research ship in West Philippine Sea
The CCG 5203, CG 5001, and Legend on March 26
CSIS / AMTI via Planet Labs

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 10:12 a.m.) — The Department of Foreign Affairs has summoned a Chinese Embassy senior official to protest China Coast Guard's harassment of a marine research vessel in the West Philippine Sea.

This comes after a report by Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative said that CCG 5203 shadowed Taiwanese research vessel Legend while conducting research in the Philippines.

"The Department summoned a senior official of the Chinese Embassy in Manila to protest the harassment by CCG on RV Legend, which had been conducting an authorized marine scientific research (MSR) activity, with Philippine scientists on board," the DFA said in a statement released Monday night.

DFA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Cultural Diplomacy Gonar Musor said the summoning happened on April 13.

The DFA stressed that it takes diplomatic actions for violations of Philippine sovereignty and sovereign rights within the country's maritime jurisdiction.

More diplomatic actions

Pointing out that the Philippines has sovereign rights over Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal, the DFA stressed that illegal activities in the area are subject of diplomatic actions.

This was in response to a separate incident in the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal in April, wherein a Chinese coast guard ship pursued a research vessel operated by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

According to the AMTI report, two CCG ships and two Chinese militia vessels followed DA BFAR, forcing it to retreat.

Philippine Coast Guard patrol ship BRP Cape Engaño was also followed by a Chinese coast guard ship and a militia vessel as it approached Ayungin Shoal.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs notes that only the Philippine Coast Guard has enforcement jurisdiction over these waters," the DFA said.

Meanwhile, the presence of Chinese coast guard vessels around Recto (Reed) Bank in the vicinity of Philippine approved activities are also violations of Philippine maritime jurisdictions, the DFA added.

In another incident, a Chinese coast guard vessel was also reported "closely following" two ships conducting 3D seismic surveys in the area.

The DFA said it was reviewing the details of these reports for filing of appropriate diplomatic action.

"The presence of foreign vessels following tracks that are neither continuous nor expeditious, that are not consistent with Article 19 of UNCLOS on innocent passage, are against the interests of the Philippines," the DFA said.

AYUNGIN SHOAL

CHINA

CHINA COAST GUARD

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

DIPLOMATIC PROTEST

PHILIPPINES-CHINA TIES

SOUTH CHINA SEA

WEST PHILIPPINE SEA

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