The Chinese Navy is expanding its naval presence in the disputed Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea, as it aims to strengthen coastal border controls and maritime management, according to officials in Kalayaan Island.
China has deployed six combat ships almost across the entire West Philippine Sea, an area also being claimed by the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei.
In order to support the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) naval operations in the South China Sea, China has also deployed a number of modern frigates in the island province of Hainan and in mainland Guangzhou.
Previously, Kalayaan mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr said that China has been expanding its naval dominance continuously in the region and already occupied three-quarters of the entire Spratlys.
Meanwhile, the Chinese foreign ministry has assured the Philippines that it will not board and search vessels entering the disputed Spratly Islands waters in the West Philippine Sea, following reports claiming that China will intercept all foreign vessels in the region.
In an effort to strengthen border controls over the coast and maritime management, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said that Chinese naval assets would be restricted to waters extending 12nm from the coastline of Hainan province.
Seven islands and two reefs in the Spratly Islands have been occupied by the Philippines, which have been included as part of Kalayaan town in Palawan.
Earlier in 2012, the PLA Navy of China successfully completed first landing trials of Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark fighter aircraft onboard its aircraft carrier, Liaoning (Varyag) as part of an exercise and validated its capabilities.