Foreign ships circling PH-occupied island, confirms military chief
ARMED Forces Chief Benjamin Madrigal Jr. on Monday confirmed the presence of foreign vessels, including Chinese ships, around Pag-asa (Thitu) Island but downplayed their number as mere “sightings.”
Speaking in an ambush interview on the sidelines of the opening of the Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercises, Madrigal also clarified that there were “more than 200 vessels and not 600” as reported but added that the military still considered the situation alarming.
“These 200 vessels are plying near the area, they are a mix of vessels [from different countries],” Madrigal added.
Madrigal said the Philippine Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard
Madrigal’s statement stemmed from the disclosure of the Western Mindanao Command last week that more than 600 Chinese ships have been circling around the Pag-asa Island, one of the Philippine-occupied areas in the Spratlys Group of Islands (Kalayaan Island Group). DEMPSEY REYES
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