Hundreds of Chinese ships off disputed islands

The ships, including four Chinese naval vessels, have gathered around six different islands and reefs that the Philippines claims, according to a Philippine public organization responsible for monitoring developments in the South China Sea.

– It is a threat to navigation and safety at sea, the organization stated on Wednesday. They added that it also threatens the sovereignty of the Philippines.

China claims that these are fishing boats that have sought shelter from bad weather. This satellite image is from March 21, and was published on March 25. Photo: Maxar Technologies via AP

Philippine authorities announced on March 21 that around 200 Chinese vessels had gathered at the disputed Whitsun reef in the South China Sea, which China also claims.

The Chinese embassy in Manila first explained that the ships were just sheltered from a devastating storm. They have ignored the demand to withdraw the vessels from the reef.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, China and Vietnam all have territorial claims in the South China Sea.

(©NTB/TV 2)

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