China Exploring Disputed Shoal for Reclamation, Philippines Says

(Bloomberg) -- China has deployed vessels and divers to explore a South China Sea shoal for reclamation, according to the Philippines, in another incident that could escalate the two nations’ maritime dispute.

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The Philippine Coast Guard sent a patrol ship to the area near Escoda Shoal to deter China’s activities close to the Southeast Asian nation’s coast, spokesman Jay Tarriela was quoted as saying in a government statement Saturday.

Manila is closely watching Chinese research vessels in the area that could be gathering data, and has deployed inflatable boats to monitor them, Tarriela said.

Philippines Weighs New Strategy to Counter China’s Sea Actions

The latest incidents surrounding the shoal add to growing tensions between Manila and Beijing in the South China Sea. The number of clashes between the countries’ vessels have increased over the past year as they assert overlapping claims in the resource-rich waters.

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