Manila protests recent Chinese 'sovereignty patrols' in South China Sea
Published on Aug 18, 2014 3:30 PM
MANILA - The Philippines on Monday protested recent Chinese "sovereignty patrols" that it said were part of Beijing's efforts to establish "constant and overwhelming presence" to "change the status quo" in the South China Sea.
"We are protesting the conduct of sovereignty patrols by Chinese vessels around (Reed) Bank," the foreign ministry's spokesman Charles Jose said in a news briefing.
The protest comes after President Benigno Aquino disclosed in a TV interview released on Sunday that two Chinese survey vessels were spotted earlier this month around Reed Bank, an oil-rich area 144km from the nearest Philippine coast in Palawan province.
"This frequent passage of Chinese ships in Philippine territories is not just an innocent exercise of freedom of navigation. We see a pattern of sovereignty patrols, pursuant to China's unilateral effort to change the status quo," Mr Jose told reporters.
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