HOW FAR WILL THE DRAGON SWIM?
Into the Territory of its Neighbors
Philippine Naval Forces West chief, Commodore Rustom Peña said Thursday that Navy ships are on standby, ready to sail to the Spratly Island's Pagasa Island to inform the Chinese fishing vessels in the area that they are within Philippine territory and that they should leave. Pagasa is occupied by Philippine civilians and garrisoned with Philippine troops. There are presently 20 Chinese vessels in the lagoon.
In a phone interview, the Commodore said the 20 Chinese fishing vessels were monitored to be around five nautical miles from Pagasa island, Philippine Territory.
“We will just investigate and then if situation warrants, we will advise them (20 Chinese fishing boats) that that’s our territory and they should leave," said Commodore Peña.
The Commodore noted that the Navy ships could not presently sail to the location of the Chinese fishing boats because of rough seas. He said the Navy ships will sail for the area as soon as the weather condition improves.
“We are monitoring them. They are not actually fishing, they are just seeking shelter…There were instances in the past where Vietnamese [vessels] also took shelter in the area because there are portions there that can [provide] cover for waves,” said Peña.
Commodore Peña added that two Chinese ships were also monitored near Mischief Reef, a Chinese-occupied area which is about 130 nautical miles from Puerto Princesa Cit, Phillipines.
Pagasa island is largest among the nine areas that are occupied by Filipino forces in the Spratly Islands. The Chinese claim the entire Spratlys.
Due to mineral and fisheries wealth , the Spratlys is being claimed in part by the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei and is being claimed in its entirety by China . — DVM, GMA News
AAction could start as early as later _._,_.___