Philippines'Navy and Coast Guard remove Chinese markers in Spratlys

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) guaranteed 200 Nautical Mile Economic Zone for the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. UNCLOS did not show any China’s territory in the West Philippines Sea’s Spratlys. China’s limit is only until Paracel islands.  The Philippines recorded already 6 invasions by china to the West Philippine Sea as of June 16, 2011.

The UNCLOS 200 Nautical Miles Exclusive Economic Zone guaranteed to the Philippines and other claimants in the islands near Spratlys

Distance of the Spratlys Islands to the Philippines’ shore

·        Amy Douglas Bank – 231 KM or 124.73 Nautical Miles from Palawan Province, Philippines

·        Recto Bank (Formerly Reed bank) – 157 KM or 84.77 Nautical Miles

·        Mischief Shoal -  250 KM 0r 134.99 Nautical Miles

The Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard have removed wooden markers and plastic buoys left by Chinese authorities on three reefs located between southwestern Philippines and the chain of eight islands claimed by the Philippines in the disputed Spratly Archipelago off the South China Sea, recently renamed in the country as the West Philippine Sea.

The markers were taken out as soon as Philippine authorities found them near the Amy Douglas Bank, 231km from Palawan, southwest Philippines, said a report.

Another marker was plucked out near Recto Bank, formerly known as Reed Bank, 157km from Palawan. A buoy was lifted from the sea near Boxall Reef, also located within Philippine territory.

China's erection of poles and a buoy near the Amy Douglas Bank are serious threats or proof that Beijing has "aggressively violated" the Declaration of the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) that China and the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) signed in 2002, Philippine authorities said in a complaint against China.

Ian Storey of Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies called China's moves ‘aggressive ... not just assertive.'

Following complaints by the Philippines, China said it left materials on the contested area for research and not for a takeover of the reefs and atolls in the Spratly Archipelago.

Structures

Meanwhile, Philippine authorities have not yet acted radically on the structures that China reportedly built on a total of six reefs within Philippine territories, a political analyst said.

In 1995, Philippine authorities found structures that China had built on Mischief Shoal, 250km from Palawan.

The incident resulted in the signing of the code of conduct for claimants in the contested sea lane and the Spratly Archipelago between China and Asean in 2002.

Reacting to China's reported move of this kind, Euan Graham, senior fellow in the Military Studies Programme of Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said, "If there is new building on a previously unoccupied feature, that would be a fairly clear breach of the DOC."

 

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