PLA Navy vessel, China Coast Guard ship, and 40 suspected Chinese maritime militia spotted around Pag-asa
On Saturday, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel stationed in Pag-asa Island reported the presence of a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA) Navy vessel, China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel 5203, and 42 suspected Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM) vessels anchored in the vicinity of Pag-asa Island.
These Chinese vessels are estimated to have a distance of approximately 4.5 to eight nautical miles from Pag-asa Island. A PCG statement said this is'' clearly inside the land feature’s 12 nautical mile territorial sea.''
The PLA Navy vessel and CCG 5203 have been observed to be slowly loitering within the surrounding waters of Pag-asa Island with a distance of 8 NM and 4 NM, respectively.
Fourteen suspected CMM vessels are anchored within the vicinity of Pag-asa Cay 3 with an estimated distance of 4 NM West of Pag-asa Island, while the other 28 suspected CMM Vessels are monitored to be within the area of Pag-asa Cay 4.
Pag-asa Island is the largest island in the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) serving as the seat of the local government of the Municipality of Kalayaan, Province of Palawan.
It is estimated that more than 400 civilian locals – including some 70 children – call the island home together with stationed Military, Law Enforcement, and civilian government personnel.
Based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Award, the observed location of the Chinese vessels fall squarely within Pag-asa Island's 12 NM territorial sea.
Their continuing unauthorized presence is clearly inconsistent with the right of innocent passage and a blatant violation of the Philippines' territorial integrity.
The PCG, in compliance with the clear directive of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, will unceasingly carry out its patriotic duty in patrolling our waters in the West Philippine Sea.
According to PCG Commandant, CG Admiral Artemio M Abu, “Our gallant men and women of the Philippine Coast Guard will continuously patrol our waters full of courage and determination." PCG