PH concerned over Chinese boats near Scarborough Shoal


The Philippines has asked China to explain the increased presence of Chinese vessels near the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, the defense secretary said Sunday, expressing “grave concern.”

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said a Philippine Air Force plane saw four Chinese coast guard ships, two barge-like vessels and two suspected troop ships near the shoal on Saturday.

“The presence of so many ships, other than coast guard in the area is cause for grave concern,” Lorenzana said.

“The DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) has already called the attention of the Chinese Ambassador and demanded an explanation,” he added.

The shoal, which is located just 230 kilometers (650 miles) from the main Philippine island of Luzon, has long been a bone of contention between the two countries.