PCG on China claim of driving away BFAR vessel from Scarborough: Inaccurate

The Philippines on Thursday called “inaccurate” China’s claim that its coast guard has driven away a Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessel from Scarborough Shoal. 

“This statement is inaccurate. The BFAR vessel, BRP DATU SANDAY, continues to patrol the waters of Bajo De Masinloc,” said Commodore Jay Tarriela, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea. 

According to Tarriela, the BFAR vessel is actively ensuring the security of Filipino fishermen in the area. 

Tarriela pointed out that some members of the press were embedded onboard the BFAR vessel and their reports will support PCG’s statement.

Chinese state television on Thursday said China’s coast guard drove away a BFAR vessel that it said “illegally intruded” into the waters adjacent to Scarborough Shoal.

Located within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the Scarborough Shoal, also referred to as Panatag Shoal, is being claimed by China, making it one of Asia’s most contested maritime features and a flashpoint for flare-ups.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than $3 trillion in annual ship commerce. Its territorial claims overlap with those of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

Parts of the waters within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone have been renamed as West Philippine Sea.

In 2016, an international arbitration tribunal in the Hague said China’s claims had no legal basis, a decision Beijing has rejected. — with Reuters/KBK/RSJ, GMA Integrated News

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