AFP: Chinese Vessels Highest Increased Presence Near Pag-Asa Island In Times of PH Removal of VFA


PH military spots 136 Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island since January 2020


More than 100 Chinese vessels have been spotted near the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa (Thitu) Island in the West Philippine Sea since the start of the year, in what could be a sign that Beijing has all but ignored Manila’s diplomatic protests and consultative talks to continue its aggression in the area.

Vice Adm. Rene Medina, head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Western Command (Wescom), said they have monitored 136 Chinese fishing vessels near Pag-asa from Jan. 1 to Feb. 25.


The 136 boats were not the cumulative number of sightings for the said period but the total number of unique vessels that were identified through their bow numbers, he told INQUIRER.net.

“The highest number of Chinese fishing vessels monitored [on a single day] was on Feb. 17 with 76 vessels sighted in the westernmost sandbar,” he said.

Two China Coast Guard vessels were also spotted in the same period in the area, while one People’s Liberation Army (Navy) ship was sighted in February.

However, as of Friday (Feb. 28) Medina said there were only two to three Chinese fishing vessels loitering near the island in the last five days.


MANILA, Philippines — More than 100 Chinese vessels have been spotted near the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa (Thitu) Island in the West Philippine Sea since the start of the year, in what could be a sign that Beijing has all but ignored Manila’s diplomatic protests and consultative talks to continue its aggression in the area.

Vice Adm. Rene Medina, head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Western Command (Wescom), said they have monitored 136 Chinese fishing vessels near Pag-asa from Jan. 1 to Feb. 25.


The 136 boats were not the cumulative number of sightings for the said period but the total number of unique vessels that were identified through their bow numbers, he told INQUIRER.net.


“The highest number of Chinese fishing vessels monitored [on a single day] was on Feb. 17 with 76 vessels sighted in the westernmost sandbar,” he said.

Two China Coast Guard vessels were also spotted in the same period in the area, while one People’s Liberation Army (Navy) ship was sighted in February.

However, as of Friday (Feb. 28) Medina said there were only two to three Chinese fishing vessels loitering near the island in the last five days.

Read more: https://globalnation.inquirer.net/185765/ph-military-spots-136-chinese-vessels-near-pag-asa-island-since-january-2020#ixzz6FX3nvwoY Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook


VFA termination leads to more Chinese presence in West Philippine sea — analyst


The country has further invited Chinese presence by terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), said GMA resident political analyst Richard Heydarian.

He issued the statement withthe recent reports of the presence of Chinese militia vessels near islands in the West Philippine Sea.

Last week, CSIS-Asia Maritime Transparency Institute Director Gregory Poling warned the Philippine government that militia vessels were "guarding" the Pag-asa Island.

"China has been deploying dozens, sometimes up to a hundred, militia vessels from nearby Subi Reef to keep an eye on Philippine operations in Pag-asa, sometimes to prevent vessels from getting to Pag-asa," he said.


In a Tuesday report on Stand for Truth, Heydarian claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte wanted to assert Philippine Independence but failed to recognize China as a potential threat.

"In fact, multiple times sinabi pa nga ni Duterte, 'I love China, I love Xi Jinping.' In fact, para kay Pangulong Duterte, we have to be meek and humble para makuha natin 'yung mercy ng China," Heydarian said.

"In effect, we're inviting more Chinese presence into our areas, into our Exclusive Economic Zone, and the West Philippine Sea, by distancing ourselves from our allies, no matter how questionable our alliances with the US were," he added.

According to Heydarian, the country's defensive capabilities have decreased while those of China has "exponentially" increased due to the termination.

"The reality is that since pinaalis natin yung mga American bases since 1992 up to today, ang laki nung gap natin in terms of our defensive capabilities habang yung sa China exponentially nag-increased," he said.


Source: https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/727347/vfa-termination-leads-to-more-chinese-presence-in-west-philippine-sea-analyst/story/?fbclid=IwAR0C6pBE_yE_Rx9EXLWpb_LHePVlZTq-ZOMU7oZrn4k5dKKRR-omlPz-PP0

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