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WATCH: Chinese Ships, Illegal Structures on Philippine Reefs

'Prejudicial to peace,' said the military.
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Photo/s: Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command

The Philippine military on Thursday released aerial footage showing dozens of Chinese fishing vessels off reefs in the Spratlys Islands that are part of Kalayaan municipality.

The video taken by the Armed Forces Western Command showed the "illegal" structures and vessels in what Manila calls Pagkakaisa or Union Banks.

Kalayaan is a Palawan municipality in what is internationally known as the Spratlys. At least one island, called Pag-Asa, has civilian inhabitants while the rest are either uninhabited or manned by Filipino security forces.

"During this patrol we were able to document manmade structures that were built on some of the features. These structures are illegal," said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, the Armed Forces Chief of Staff.


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"The Laws of the Sea gives the Philippines indisputable and exclusive rights over the area. These constructions and other activities, economic or otherwise, are prejudicial to peace, good order, and security of our territorial waters," he said.

Sobejana said the video has been relayed to the Departments of Foreign Affairs and National Defense.

Last week, the Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. fired off a diplomatic protest against China over a swarm of ships off Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef, which is within the Philippines' EEZ or Exclusive Economic Zone.


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China is claiming almost the entire South China Sea, overlapping with claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia. Some $3.4 million worth of trade passes through the disputed waters annually and Washington has expressed concern over Beijing's actions in the region.

The Chinese government also refuses to recognize a UN court's ruling that favored the Philippines and invalidated its vast claims.

While the Philippines has filed numerous diplomatic protests over China's actions that endangered the lives of Filipino fishermen, Beijing has built artificial islands over the disputed reefs.

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