Statement of the Secretary of National Defense on the presence of Chinese militia boats in the Julian Felipe Reef
21 March 2021
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     We view with grave concern the presence of 220 Chinese militia boats in the Julian Felipe Reef (Union Reef) in the West Philippine Sea. This is a clear provocative action of militarizing the area. These are territories well within Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf (CS) where Filipinos have the sole right to resources under international law and the 2016 arbitral ruling.

     “We call on the Chinese to stop this incursion and immediately recall these boats violating our maritime rights and encroaching into our sovereign territory. We are committed to uphold our sovereign rights over the WPS.”

     We are coordinating with the Philippine Coast Guard, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea and the Department of Foreign Affairs for appropriate action in the context of protecting the welfare of our Filipino fishermen, our marine resources, and maintaining peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea. 

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Delfin N. Lorenzana 
Secretary of National Defense