President Rodrigo Duterte will be talking with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines about the presence of Chinese vessels in Julian Felipe Reef in West Philippine Sea, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said during March 23 press briefing.
“Uulitin ko lang po ang sinabi kahapon ni Presidente, kakausapin niya ang Chinese Ambassador tungkol sa isyung ito. At ang sabi naman niya, wala namang hindi napag-uusapan sa panig ng mga magkakaibigan,” Secretary Roque said.
Also on March 23, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) demanded China to “promptly withdraw its fishing vessels and maritime assets in the vicinity and adjacent waters of relevant features in the Kalayaan Group of Islands in the West Philippine Sea, and to direct its fishing vessels to desist from environmentally destructive activities.”
DFA noted that Julian Felipe Reef, part of Kalayaan Island Group, lies within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone.
“The Philippines has been assiduously protesting the illegal and lingering (swarming) presence of Chinese fishing vessels and maritime assets in the said areas,” it added.
The DFA reiterated “that the continued deployment, lingering presence and activities of Chinese vessels in Philippine maritime zones blatantly infringe upon Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction.”