Philippines protests to China over 'illegal' sea presence
MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines said on Tuesday that it had filed a protest with China over the "illegal" presence of a Chinese warship and two other vessels at a Filipino-claimed shoal in the disputed South China Sea.
The incident is the latest in an escalating dispute between the two countries over rival claims to parts of the sea, and comes after the Philippines said China occupied another Filipino-claimed shoal last year.
"We (have) filed with the Chinese Embassy in Manila our protest on the provocative and illegal presence of Chinese government ships around Ayungin Shoal," Foreign Affairs Department spokesman Raul Hernandez said.
Mr Hernandez said the vessels - one warship and two maritime surveillance vessels - were still near the reefs and islets, also known as the Second Thomas Shoal.