The Philippines is expressing concern over 30 Chinese vessels that have settled near a reef among some disputed islands it partially claims in the South China Sea. The boats arrived from Hainan province Sunday, just days after a heated regional forum that ended with no consensus over how to address territorial disputes in the region.
Chinese news agencies say the fleet of fishing vessels near Yongshu Reef is accompanied by a 3,000-ton reinforcement ship and a government vessel for protection. China Daily says this is the largest fleet out of Hainan province to go on their annual fishing excursion.
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs reacted immediately to the reports, issuing a statement on the arrival of the boats near the reef also known as Fiery Cross Reef.