The Philippines has placed five navigational buoys inside its 200-mile (322 km) exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea to assert its sovereignty, according to the country’s coast guard, reported The Epoch Times.
The Philippine Coast Guard’s spokesperson on South China Sea issues, Commodore Jay Tarriela, said five buoys carrying the national flag were placed from May 10 to May 12 in five areas within the EEZ.
An exclusive economic zone, or EEZ, is an area of the ocean, generally extending 200 nautical miles beyond a nation’s territorial sea, within which a coastal nation has jurisdiction over both living and nonliving resources.
The report further stated that the five areas where the buoys have been placed are Patag Island, Balagtas Reef, Kota Island, Panata Island, and Juan Felipe Reef.
Tarriela, while sharing photos of the buoys in a post, said on Twitter, “This move highlights the Philippines’ unwavering resolve to protect its maritime borders and resources and contribute to the safety of maritime trade.”
According to The Epoch Times, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has laid its claim to the majority of the South China Sea, citing the so-called “nine-dash line,” a vaguely defined U-shaped delineation that separates the areas where it claims “historic rights” to resources within the sea.
The CCP’s claim of sovereignty over almost the whole of the South China Sea was annulled by a 2016 international arbitration ruling, reported The Epoch Times.
As the Philippines looks to fortify its connections with the United States further, China has been acting more aggressively in the South China Sea.
Most recently, on May 1, amidst the CCP’s intimidating tactics against the self-ruled island, the Philippines and the United States underlined the need for peace across the Taiwan Strait.
This confirmation came only a few days after more than 100 Chinese militia marine vessels were seen inside the Philippines’ EEZ between April 18 and April 24, per The Epoch Times.
The South China Sea, which includes many islands in the region, is subject to multiple territorial claims by China that the United States does not recognize. In the Spratlys, claims have been made by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
The CCP has spent years trying to drive other countries out of certain areas of the South China Sea, including by creating artificial islands to expand its claims and increasing the deployment of its naval militia units to intimidate and harass smaller countries.
The Epoch Times reported that the Chinese government had stationed hundreds of fishing vessels and coast guard boats in the disputed areas for years.