Chinese boats return to Scarborough – DFA

Chinese vessels return to the disputed territory two months after the Philippine Navy confirmed their pullout

MANILA, Philippines — Chinese boats are back in the lagoon of Scarborough Shoal, fueling mutual distrust between the Philippines and China concerning their two-month standoff.

“It has been confirmed by the Philippine Navy that, as of two days ago, there were no more ships inside the lagoon. The Chinese fishing boats have obviously returned,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in its brief statement.

The DFA did not further explain its next moves.

Earlier this month, the DFA said the Philippines and China have agreed to pull out their vessels from the lagoon of Scarborough Shoal. This was where the standoff between the two countries began in April.

“We have been doing several consultations with the Chinese side, and in the consultations, we have arrived at the decision to pull out ships and vessels from inside the lagoon,” DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez earlier said.

In a statement last June 18, however, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei questioned the Philippines’ claim.

“We wonder where the so-called commitment the Philippine side mentioned on ‘China’s withdrawal of vessels’ came from. We hope the Philippine side can restrain their words and behaviors, and do more things conducive to the development of the bilateral relations,” said Hong said. (Read: Is China pulling out of Scarborough?)

Last April, the DFA already criticized Chinese statements on the Scarborough Shoal standoff that “are contrary to reality.” — Rappler.com

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