The Philippines has condemned China for swarming the waters near a Philippine-based island in the contested seas. According to news.com.au, around 275 vessels were spotted close to Thitu island, which is part of the hotly debated waters. A major row has been boiling over recent months with numerous countries claiming the rights to the waters, which are dubbed the world’s busiest.
Salvador Panelo, the Philippines’ presidential spokesman, claimed that the Department of Foreign Affairs had launched the protest after the fishing-militia and military-controlled Coast Guard ships were seen.
When asked whether China’s increased presence was a worry, he said: “Anything that concerns the security of the Philippines will always be a concern.”
Philippine military chief General Benjamin Madrigal Jr. told local media: “This is a concern not only for the military, but for other agencies as well, including the Coast Guard.
“We are looking for ways to address this.”
The latest fears come less than a day after a US Navy warship was spotted carrying twice the amount of fighter jets than usual.
The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp was on its way to the annual Balikatan exercises in the Philippines, according to reports.
The ship was carrying at least 10 F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters, the National Interest reported.
They noted the ship usually carried a sixth of the aircraft.
Tensions in the South China Sea have risen in the past year as the US tries to push back China’s hold on the region.
The waters are also claimed by the likes of Vietnam and Brunei.
So far, the US has conducted 15 freedom of navigation operations in the area since 2015.
The US also want allies to consider similar manoeuvres.