The Philippines have concern over Chin’s boats near disputed shoal

The Philippines have concern over Chin’s boats near disputed shoalThe Philippines wants an explanation from China’s ambassador as they have a "grave concern" over an increasing number of Chinese vessels near the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.

A Philippines air force plane on Saturday noticed than China placed more boats since seizing the shoal after a tense standoff in 2012 as it flew over the territory, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

"There were four Chinese coastguard ships and six other vessels, including blue-coloured barges, around Scarborough Shoal," he said in a text message sent to reporters.

"The presence of many ships other than coastguard in the area is a cause of grave concern."

The disputed area of the Scarborough Shoal is very important to the Philippines because of its tranquil waters and rich stocks of fish.

Lorenzana said Beijing had earlier this year tried to send dredging barges to the shoal, but there was no sign of any reclamation activity so far.

"We don't know yet if those barges are precursors of future dredging operations. If they try to construct anything in Scarborough it will have far-reaching adverse effect on the security situation," he said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had promised not to raise the issue during the G20 summit as he wants to smooth the way for bilateral negotiations with China.
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