This handout photo taken on March 27, 2021 and received from the National Task Force-West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) via the Philippine Communications Operations Office (PCOO) on March 31, 2021 shows Chinese vessels anchored at Whitsun Reef, some 320 kilometres (175 nautical miles) west of Palawan Island in the South China Sea. A fleet of Chinese ships that sparked a diplomatic row after parking at a reef off the Philippines for weeks are now scattered across the contested Spratly Islands, a government agency said on March 31, 2021, condemning Beijing’s “unlawful presence” in the area. AFP/Philippine Communications Operations Office/National Task Force-West Philippine Sea./ctto.

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ top diplomat ordered the filing of another diplomatic protest against China following reports that 240 Chinese vessels linger in the West Philippine Sea.

“[DFA] FIRE A DIPLOMATIC PROTEST NOW,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. tweeted Wednesday morning, quoting an ABS-CBN News report.

Locsin, however, admitted that he has not yet received any update from the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) about the latest developments in the West Philippine Sea.

On Tuesday night, the NTF-WPS reiterated its demand on China to withdraw all its vessels within Philippine exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.

“The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea denounces the continuous swarming in the WPS by Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) and Maritime Militia which are claimed by Chinese authorities to be ordinary fishing vessels,” the statement read.

According to the task force, an estimated 240 Chinese vessels are scattered in several features in the territorial waters of Kalayaan, Palawan as of April 11. (Click here to read more…)

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Source: https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2021/04/14/2091080/locsin-orders-filing-another-diplomatic-protest-240-chinese-ships-swarm-west-philippine-sea