Satellite Images Reveal 234 Chinese Ships in West Philippine Sea
Over 200 Chinese vessels were detected inside the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines from May to June 2021, according to a report by Simularity, a US-based geospatial intelligence firm. According to Simularity, there were 239 Chinese vessels within Philippine waters as of June 17, 2021.
In the Union Banks (Pagkakaisa Reefs) alone, there were 144 ships detected. Union Banks is entirely within the Philippine EEZ.
Apparently, China had moved some of its ships from Gaven Reef (Burgos Reef) and Tizard Bank. According to the report, the number of ships near Gaven Reef and Tizard bank decreased from 234 to just 71 in mid-June.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has yet to issue a statement to confirm the presence of Chinese ships within the West Philippine Sea, but it posted a statement on its Twitter account affirming the victory of the Philippines in the 2016 arbitration versus China.
READ: Statement of Secretary @teddyboylocsin on the 5th Anniversary of the Issuance of the Award on the South China Sea Arbitration. Also found here ????????https://t.co/3MBUewiLrk#DFAForgingAhead pic.twitter.com/ktNuRkNGB8— DFA Philippines (@DFAPHL) June 23, 2021
On July 22, the Philippines will commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Issuance of the Award on the South China Sea Arbitration, which was a landmark case that saw a huge victory for the Philippines against China's encompassing claim over the West Philippine Sea.