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Has China 'roped off' Scarborough?

MANILA, Philippines -- Chinese fishing boats may have left Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal but Philippine authorities said they appear to have “roped off” the entrance to the disputed territory.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said they “assumed” the barrier had been placed there by China to prevent Filipino vessels from entering the shoal.

Ang nakita sa report ng Coast Guard, may nilagay pa na tali sa entrance ng shoal (The Coast Guard report said there was a rope tied across the entrance to the shaol),” Gazmin said.

He added that two Chinese vessels, one from the Fisheries Law Enforcement Command and a maritime surveillance ship, remained at the shoal, which the Philippines also calls Bajo de Masinloc.

The Philippines and China have been engaged in a standoff over Scarborough since April, when the Navy flagship BRP Gregorio del Pilar intercepted Chinese fishing boats laden with contraband marine products.

Gazmin said the inclement weather has made it difficult for Philippine ships and boats to go to Scarborough.

The Defense chief said there is a need to resolve the latest situation.

"Pine-prevent tayo makapasok because kine-claim nila kanila, kine-claim din natin na atin, kaya kailangan mag-usap para mabigyang kalutasan ito (They are preventing us from entering because they claim the area, we claim it too, so we should talk and find a solution to this)," Gazmin said.

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| August 3, 2012 | Article Link

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