Chinese ship stays near Philippine-claimed island for over a week

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Manila (dpa) – A Chinese coast guard ship sailed near a Philippine-occupied island in the disputed South China Sea and stayed in the waters for more than one week, a local official said Thursday.

The white Chinese vessel was seen about 4 nautical miles from Pagasa Island from November 9-18, said Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon of Kalayaan town, which covers the island.

“It was on standby and just resting close to Pagasa,” he said. “There was no aggressive action or any activity from the Chinese ship.”

Bito-onon said the Chinese ship arrived as the municipality’s own boat unloaded various supplies for the island’s residents, including construction materials, food, and other basic commodities.

The Philippines and China have been locked in a territorial dispute over part of the South China Sea, with Manila filing an arbitration case against Beijing over its claim to almost the entire area.

The boat left a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Manila to attend the leaders’ summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, where concerns about territorial disputes have been raised.

Aside from China and the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam also has overlapping claims to the South China Sea, a key shipping lane believed to be rich in mineral and marine resources.

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