Philippines: China 'increasing ships at disputed shoal'

File photo: Chinese ships at Scarborough Shoal The Philippines and China have been locked in a stand-off over the shoal since April

Related Stories

The Philippines says more Chinese ships are at the disputed Scarborough Shoal area, despite ongoing talks on the row.

A statement from the Foreign Ministry said the vessels included five government ships as well as dozens of fishing and utility boats.

The Philippines currently has two vessels there.

The two countries, both of which claim the area, have been locked in a stand-off since April.

On Monday there were five Chinese government vessels, 16 fishing boats and 56 "utility boats" in the area, the Philippine foreign ministry said.

The number of utility boats - smaller vessels launched from bigger boats, the coast guard said - went up to 76 on Tuesday, it said.

But the ministry said it was still "committed to efforts of defusing the tensions" with China, even as it "expressed grave concern" over the issue to the Chinese embassy in Manila.

In Beijing, the foreign ministry dismissed the comments.

"It is understood that some 20 Chinese fishing boats are operating around Huangyan Island, similar to that of last year," said spokesman Hong Lei.

"The way they operate is in compliance with the relevant laws in China, as well as China's fishing moratorium order."

Both sides imposed fishing bans for the area earlier this month.

Fishing ban

The Scarborough Shoal, also known as Bajo de Masinloc in the Philippines and Huangyan Island in China, has been a source of ongoing tension in the region.

It lies a little more than 100 miles (160km) from the Philippines and 500 miles from China.

The current row began when the Philippines said its naval ship had found eight Chinese fishing vessels at the shoal but was prevented by Chinese surveillance ships from arresting the fishermen.

The dispute has started to hit tourism in the region, with authorities in Beijing warning Chinese citizens against travelling to the Philippines. Beijing has also upped inspection of fruit imports from the Philippines.

China is engaged in multiple disputes with its neighbours over the South China Sea, and in recent years has grown more assertive on the issue.

Map locator

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Asia stories

RSS

Features

  • Peaky Blinders publicity shotBrum do

    Why is the Birmingham accent so difficult to mimic?


  • Oliver CromwellA brief history

    The 900 year story behind the creation of a UK parliament


  • Image of Ankor Wat using lidarJungle Atlantis

    How lasers have revealed an ancient city beneath the forest


  • TheatreBard taste? Watch

    Are trailer videos on social media spoiling theatre?


  • Agents with the US Secret Service, such as this one, are responsible for guarding the presidentHard at work

    White House break-in adds to Secret Service woes


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.