MANILA, Philippines - Seven Chinese fishing vessels and 23 utility boats have remained at the disputed Scarborough shoal, the Philippine military said Tuesday.
Army Capt. Aurelio Kigis, spokesman of the Armed Forces' Northern Luzon Command, said 2 of the Chinese ships are marine surveillance vessels and another one is a FLEC 310 gunboat.
Two Philippine Coast Guard ships, the Sarv-002 and MCS 3001, are also in the area.
China on Monday reiterated its claim of sovereignty over Scarborough shoal, which it calls as Huangyan Island.
"Huangyan Island is an inherent part of China's territory. China has indisputable sovereignty over the Huangyan Island. Any action taken by the Philippine side is illegal and invalid," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.
"China endeavors to solve a dispute with the Philippines over Huangyan Island via diplomatic means. We urge the Philippine side to come back onto the right track toward a diplomatic solution," he claimed.
"We demand the Philippines to refrain from any more actions that will complicate, amplify or internationalize the situation," he added. - with a report from Reuters