Philippines spots suspected Chinese ships at disputed atoll

MANILA, Philippines - A Philippine official said Wednesday that he recently spotted five suspected Chinese coast guard and navy ships at a disputed atoll in the South China Sea and fears Beijing will take control of another area frequented by Filipino, Vietnamese and Malaysian fishermen.

See Full Article

Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr., who heads a Philippine-claimed region in the disputed Spratly Islands, said he saw the Chinese ships at the Jackson Atoll for two straight days last week while flying in a plane over the area.

Bito-onon said Chinese government vessels have not been stationed at the atoll, which the Philippines calls Quirino, in the years he has been passing by the uninhabited ring-shaped reef.

Jackson Atoll lies several kilometres from the Philippine-claimed Mischief Reef, which China occupied in 1995 and has turned into an island containing what appears to be a runway. It lies midway between the western Philippine province of Palawan and Filipino-occupied Thitu Island in the Spratlys.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said it was trying to verify the reported Chinese presence and a local newspaper report that the Chinese ships recently prevented Filipino fishermen from approaching the area. Chinese Embassy officials were not immediately available for comment.

"I'm alarmed because we frequently pass by that atoll on our way to Pag-asa," Bito-onon told The Associated Press by telephone, referring to the Philippine name for Thitu Island, where he frequently travels to visit a Filipino fishing community guarded by troops. "What will happen now if we sail close with all those Chinese ships?"

Filipino, Vietnamese and Malaysian fishing boats have gone to the vast fishing lagoon Jackson for years, Bito-onon said, adding that Filipino fishermen were looking forward to the start of the octopus-catching season that starts next month.

Aside from China and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have conflicting territorial claims in the Spratlys.


Latest Canada & World News

  • 'Life-altering consequences:' Edmonton busker jailed for assaulting man

    Canada News CBC News
    A judge has sentenced a busker to 18 months in jail for attacking a man he thought had swiped some of his change. The assault left Donny Crier, 41, a quadriplegic. Court heard Allen Dakota Cardinal was playing his guitar inside a light rail transit station in downtown Edmonton last April. Source
  • NATO trying to get better at predicting Russia's next move: Latvian commander

    World News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- While NATO is determined to improve its ability to predict the Kremlin's next move, a senior Latvian commander concedes that Russian President Vladimir Putin has managed to keep the military alliance guessing in recent years. Source
  • H.R. McMaster out as national security adviser, Trump taps John Bolton

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday picked as his new national security adviser John Bolton, a hawk who has advocated using military force against Iran and North Korea and has taken a hard line against Russia. Source
  • McMaster out, Bolton in as Trump's national security adviser

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump is replacing national security adviser H.R. McMaster with the former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, injecting a hawkish foreign policy voice into his administration ahead of key decisions on Iran and North Korea. Source
  • Steve Bannon blames Republican establishment for Roy Moore's defeat

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK - Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is blaming the Republican establishment for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore's defeat, saying GOP leaders pushed pedophilia accusations against him. Bannon says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was too quick to back away from Moore, who faced charges of sexually abusing underage girls. Source
  • Woman claims she wasn't drinking before crash — she was texting

    Canada News CBC News
    Call it the lesser-of-two-evils defence: a B.C. woman is fighting the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia's refusal to honour her insurance claim by arguing that she was texting, rather than drinking, before she crashed. As a result, a Kamloops provincial court judge hearing a pretrial application has ordered Angela Seeley to divulge both her weight, to help determine if she was impaired, and her cellphone records to the insurer. Source
  • Jamaican flight crew member charged with smuggling cocaine taped to his legs

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Federal authorities say a flight crew member arrived at New York's Kennedy Airport from Jamaica with four packages of cocaine taped to his legs. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Fly Jamaica Airways crew member Hugh Hall was arrested on Saturday and they seized about 9 pounds of cocaine, with a street value of about $160,000. Source
  • 16 northern Ontario First Nations being connected to power grid in $1.6B project

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A new agreement between Ontario First Nations, the federal government and the province will see 16 northern communities connected to the power grid. The $1.6 billion project will be completed in 2023 and will shift the communities from dependence on diesel fuel for power to the provincial electricity grid. Source
  • Bruce McArthur case prompts review of how Toronto police handled missing men

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- How Toronto police handled the cases of men missing from the city's gay village will undergo some form of external review in light of six murder charges laid against an alleged serial killer, the police oversight board decided on Thursday. Source
  • Russian embassy calls Trudeau's criticism of Putin 'confrontational'

    World News CBC News
    The Russian embassy is firing back at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for criticizing President Vladimir Putin at a news conference this week. But a leading expert on Russia and the Arctic is dismissing the dust-up as the result of a mistaken prime minister, and a junior Russian diplomat with an itchy Twitter finger. Source