The Philippine Foreign Affairs Department said the situation developed Tuesday when the Chinese surveillance ships placed themselves between the Philippine patrol boat BRP Gregorio del Pilar and several Chinese fishing boats, GMA News reported
The face-off was playing out near Scarborough, or Panatag, Shoal, which both the Philippines and China claim.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario was seeking a diplomatic solution with Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing, the TV network said.
The Chinese Embassy said it had received a report that a dozen Chinese fishing boats had taken refuge in a lagoon of Huangyan Island to escape foul weather when the Philippine gunboat blocked the lagoon entrance and sent 12 Philippine soldiers to harass the Chinese fishermen. That prompted the Chinese surveillance ships to insert themselves into the situation.
The Chinese Embassy said it got in touch with the Philippine Foreign Affairs Department and reiterated China's claim of sovereignty over Huangyan Island, urging the Philippine to leave the area, GMA said.
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