Philippine defense chief demands 200-plus Chinese flotilla leave reef

Philippine defense chief demands 200-plus Chinese flotilla leave reef

Fishing boats ‘encroaching into our sovereign territory,’ Lorenzana says

MANILA (AP) — The Philippine defense chief on Sunday demanded more than 200 Chinese vessels he said were manned by militias leave a South China Sea reef claimed by Manila, saying their presence was a “provocative action of militarizing the area.”

“We call on the Chinese to stop this incursion and immediately recall these boats violating our maritime rights and encroaching into our sovereign territory,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement, adding without elaborating that the Philippines would uphold its sovereign rights.