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Chinese vessels in Whitsun reef

Date: 02 April 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous


More than 200 Chinese fishing vessels have been stationed at the Whitsun reef in the South China Sea.



The Whitsun reef is a part of Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone but China claims it as its own territory under the nine dash line.



  • Philippines has been extremely vigilant and has increased the presence of naval ships in order to keep a vigil over the vessels.

  • If China becomes successful in establishing its presence, Philippines is expected to lose another fishing ground after the Scarborough shoal.


Chinese aggression

  • China has been accused of exploiting the crisis to increase its expansionist behaviour in South China Sea. It had sunk a Vietnamese fishing vessel and stopped Malaysian oil exploration.

  • The USA had deployed its naval resources to prevent China from increasing its aggressiveness.


The dispute

  • Many South-East Asian countries along with China have had a long dispute in South China Sea. The region is supposed to contain large amount of petroleum and also marine resources.

  • The main issue is regarding adhering to Exclusive Economic Zone principle of international law. China has been ignoring the law for its own gains.

  • China has cited its historical and unaccounted nine dash line to claim the whole region. The arbitration process gave judgement in favour of Philippines but China has rejected the judgement.

  • There has been a concern that China may twist rules according to its needs. In future, it may convert the shoal into a residential zone and claim it.

  • Considering that fishermen have low resources to station at a place without operating, the move looks to be a deliberate attempt by Chinese officials.