China denies ship 'bullied' Philippine boats

Posted at 04/30/12 8:40 PM

MANILA, Philippines - China on Monday denied that one of its ships deployed near the disputed Scarborough Shoal "bullied" Philippine vessels in the area.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a press statement published online, said the incident is "sheer subjective assumption."

"According to the information from relevant authorities, China's Yuzheng 310 went on patrol in waters off the coast of Huangyan Island in the early morning of April 28 (Saturday) in accordance with the law," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said.

However, Lui did not discuss in the incident in detail.

"Huangyan Island is an inherent part of China's territory and we hope that the Philippine side will stop creating incidents that make things even more complicated," he said.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier accused Beijing of employing "bullying" tactics after a speeding Chinese ship allegedly veered dangerously close to 2 Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

No one was hurt but "these maneuvers by the Chinese vessel posed a danger to the Philippine vessels," DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a statement. "Our ships did not react to the bullying," he added.

Hernandez said the movements of the Chinese vessel violated international regulations for preventing collisions of ships at sea.

"We don't want that incident to happen again. We will bring this up to the Chinese authorities. We will again be bringing this to attention either verbally or diplomatic note," he added.

In Saturday's incident, the Chinese vessel speeded past two Philippine coast guard ships at more than 20 knots (37 kilometers per hour), creating a high wave that buffeted the vessels.

Ten Chinese ships are currently in the area while the Philippines has 5 vessels, Hernandez said Monday.

The Chinese ships include a maritime surveillance ship, fisheries and law enforcement command boats, and fishing vessels.

The Philippine Navy's BRP EDSA, a Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources ship and and 3 Filipino fishing vessels are also in the area.

"Today, no untoward incident has been reported and the situation there is a bit calm. Yes, there's still a stand off because the Chinese ships are still there and they have not left the area, they have not left our territory. For yesterday and today there were no details of the activities being undertaken by the vessels there," Hernandez said.