MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday called on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to summon Beijing’s Ambassador to Manila anew over the reported presence of more Chinese ships within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) at the West Philippine Sea.
Hontiveros said the DFA should ask China’s envoy to explain the alleged presence of more than 100 ships this month as reported by a geospatial intelligence firm.
According to a report released Sunday by US-based Simularity, the number of “likely Chinese ships” spiked from 129 to 238, an increase of over 100 ships.
The report detailed that “between mid-May and mid-June 2021, the number of ships within the Union Banks increased from 9 to 236 and the number of ships near Gaven (Burgos) Reef in Tizard Bank decreased from 234 to 71.”
“Instead of de-escalating the tensions in the disputed waters, they doubled down. This clearly shows that China is shamelessly hellbent on aggravating the situation,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
She also urged Malacañang to condemn China’s “incessant presence” in the West Philippine Sea.
“The Palace should look Beijing straight in the eye and tell her to remove her ships from our territories,” she said.
As of writing, the DFA has yet to issue a statement on the matter.
Two months ago, the DFA summoned Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian for the first time over Beijing’s continued swarming of Julian Felipe Reef with over 200 of its vessels.
China has ignored the arbitral ruling that invalidated its nine-dash claim over the vast part of the South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea.
The DFA has repeatedly fired off diplomatic protest and called for the immediate withdrawal of the vessels.