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Number of Chinese ships in WPS now up to 146 — Navy

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China has deployed 146 vessels between June 4 to June 10 in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), the Philippine Navy said on Wednesday. 

The Philippine Navy said it has observed more ships from China in various locations across the disputed international waters this past week. 

Navy WPS Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad earlier reported 125 Chinese vessels, which the Navy monitored from May 28 to June 3. This marked a slight increase from the previous week’s count of 122. 

The updated list includes 16 vessels from the China Coast Guard (CCGVs), 22 from the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), and 108 ships from the China Maritime Militia (CMMVs). 

The breakdown of the vessels across various strategic locations in the WPS is as follows: Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) – 4 CCGVs and 29 CMMVs; Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) – 5 CCGVs, 8 PLAN ships, and 37 CMMVs; Pagasa Island (Thitu Island) – 1 CCGV, 1 PLAN ship, and 40 CMMVs; Kota Island (Loaita Island) – 1 CCGV, 1 PLAN ship; Likas Island (West York Island) – 1 PLAN ship; Lawak Island (Nanshan Island) – 1 CCGV, 5 PLAN ships, 2 CMMVs; Panata Island (Loaita Cay) – 2 PLAN ships; and Sabina Shoal – 4 CCGVs, 4 PLAN ships

The Philippine Navy said it is continuing to monitor and report on these incursions.The presence of Chinese ships in these disputed waters has been a point of contention between China and the Philippines, with Manila asserting its sovereignty in its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and Beijing relentless in its expansionist agenda.

 A group of Filipino riders meanwhile called on China to abandon its illegal claims over the entire WPS, and appealed to other foreign countries to cease militarizing the already tense region.

 The Kapatiran sa Dalawang Gulong (KAGULONG), Riders Pilipinas, and Partido Manggagawa (PM), made the call during its “freedom ride” activities during the celebration of 126th Philippine Independence Day.

 Mounting calls against China’s expansive claims over the South China Sea (SCS) and the WPS has spread around the globe.

  “We do not want the conflict in the West Philippine Sea to escalate into a war due to territorial disputes and geopolitical tensions between powerful nations. We seek freedom, justice, and peace in the area for Filipinos and neighboring countries with territorial claims in these waters,” according to KAGULONG Secretary General Don Pangan.

KAGULONG emphasized that demilitarization is crucial for easing tensions and preventing conflict in these waters. However, China, the US, and other military powers like France, the UK, Australia, and Japan must commit to this effort to avoid military confrontations.

The group stressed the importance of transforming the region into a zone of peace and neutrality, rather than a battleground for superpowers. With Vito Barcelo

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline: “125 to 146! Philippine Navy monitors more Chinese vessels in WPS”

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