Philippines defense minister spars with Chinese over South China Seas

Philippines defense minister spars with Chinese over South China Seas

Malaysia Sun-International·2021-04-10 05:03

A top Filipino official has warned of additional moves by the Chinese to occupy the South China Sea.

Philippines Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has repeated calls for the removal of over 200 Chinese boats surrounding Whitsun Reef.

Chinese diplomats have said the boats had anchored near the reef due to rough seas.

MANILA, Philippines: A top Filipino official has warned of additional moves by the Chinese in the South China Sea.

"The continued presence of Chinese maritime militias in the area reveals their intent to further occupy (areas) in the West Philippine Sea (local name for the South China Sea)," Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters.

This was the second warning issued by Lorenzana in two days, even as he repeated calls by the Philippines for the removal of over 200 Chinese boats surrounding Whitsun Reef.

Chinese diplomats have said the boats had anchored near the reef due to rough seas. He also denied that Chinese militia were aboard.

Lorenzana responded, saying that 44 Chinese vessels were still anchored off the reef, even though the weather had improved.

"I am no fool. The weather has been good so far, so they have no reason to stay there," he said.

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