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Fewer Chinese vessels seen in West PH Sea as Balikatan nears end

May 10 ------ The Armed Forces of the Philippines said the number of Chinese vessels observed in the West Philippine Sea this week is fewer compared to the previous week as the annual bilateral exercise between Manila and Washington nears its end.  


“There was a surge in the beginning, but for this week, there is no significant surge in the number of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea,” AFP spokesperson Col. Francel Margareth Padilla told reporters in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. “Compared to last week’s numbers, there is a slight decrease,” she added,  


According to Padilla, from April 23 to 29, there were 110 Chinese maritime militia vessels, 11 China Coast Guard vessels and three People’s Liberation Army Navy vessels spotted in Philippine-occupied features in the West Philippine Sea. These include Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal, Ayungin Shoal, Pagasa Island, Kota Island, Lawak Island, Patag Island and Panata Island. 


From April 30 to May 6, meanwhile, only 88 CMMVs and 10 CCGVs were monitored in these islands and features. Four PLAN vessels were also sighted on the same period. The Philippine Navy in mid-April said there was an increase in the number of CMMVs in the West Philippine Sea ahead of the Balikatan exercise between the Philippines and the United States.  



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