MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday said both China and the Philippines have pulled out some of their vessels at the contested Scarborough shoal.
The DFA said China has pulled out two of its maritime vessels near the shoal while the Philippines’ Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessel has left the area.
“Following our consultations, the two Chinese maritime vessels and our BFAR vessel are no longer in the lagoon. We continue the consultations to address the remaining issues in Bajo de Masinloc,” the DFA said in a statement.
DFA Spokesperson Raul Hernandez, however, said some Chinese and Filipino vessels remain near the shoal, which both countries have been claiming to be part of their respective territories.
The Philippines has been insisting that the contested area, which it calls the Panatag shoal, is well within its exclusive economic zone.
China, meanwhile, is claiming the area along with virtually the entire South China Sea. – with dzMM