Philippines NO Protest Against China’s Intrusion in Half Moon Shoal - 60 Nautical Miles

China's Warship Intruded half Moon Shoal (Hasa-Hasa Shoal) 60 Nautical Miles of Palawan near Balabac Straight. Chinese Dongguan, Type 053H1G (Jianghu-V Class) Missile Frigate

The Philippines said it would not lodge a diplomatic protest after China extricated a naval frigate from illegal entering the Hasahasa Shoal (Halfmoon Shoal) which is 60 Nautical Miles from Main Land Palawan. The Hasa Hasa or Halfmoon Shoal in not part of the disputed islands but recently disturbed by china keep of expanding more and more closer to the Main Island of the Philippines.

The intrusion of China's warship in Hasa Hasa (halfmoon Shoal) was downplayed by the Mister of Foreign affairs. Last week's stranding of the ship on Half Moon shoal, which Manila calls Hasa Hasa, was likely an accident, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said.

"We don't believe that there were ill-intentions that accompanied the presence of that ship in our EEZ (exclusive economic zone)," del Rosario said.

"As far as filing a diplomatic protest is concerned, my stance is that we will probably not do that," he said.

The ship was reportedly on "routine patrol" when it got stranded Wednesday on the shoal, which sits just 60 nautical miles from the western Philippine island of Palawan, within the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

International law defines a country's exclusive economic zone as being up to 200-nautical-miles from its shores.

The Chinese embassy in Manila said the frigate was "refloated successfully" before daybreak Sunday, and del Rosario said he was informed it was already en route back to China.

"We wish its crew a safe voyage back to China," he said.

HALF MOON SHOAL or HASA-HASA Shoal is not part of the Disputed Spartlys

The Half moon shoal or Hasa-Hasa Shoal is NOT PART of the Spratly Islands - which the Chinese call Nansha - a string of atolls and islands straddling vital shipping lanes in the South China Sea believed sitting atop vast mineral deposits.

Apart from the Philippines and China, the Spratlys are claimed in whole or in part by Taiwan and the other Southeast Asian countries of Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Overlapping claims to the islands have perennially caused tensions among the claimants, with the Philippines and Vietnam recently accusing China of increasingly becoming aggressive in staking its claims.

The dispute also marred an annual meeting of Southeast Asian foreign ministers held in Cambodia last week, where Manila's chief diplomat accused China of "duplicity" and intimidation.

The dispute divided the grouping, with host Cambodia siding with China, thus preventing them from issuing a customary joint statement that summarizes achievements and concerns.

But in a marked turn-around of rhetoric Sunday, Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the Chinese frigate apparently made a navigational mistake that caused it to run aground.

He said there appeared to be no signs that it was on a mission to intrude in a Philippine claimed area, noting the absence of structures on the shoal.

"It may have been human error. The CO (commanding officer) may have not seen the rocks," he said.

China says its naval frigate that ran aground close to Philippine shores, while patrolling disputed waters in the South China Sea, has been refloated.

The frigate became stranded on Wednesday in a shoal, which sits just 60 nautical miles from the western Philippine island of Palawan, within the country's exclusive economic zone.

A statement from the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said the ship was refloated on Sunday morning, and that all its personnel were safe.

"Now the preparation for return to the port is underway. No contamination has been caused in the incident area," it said in a statement.

The ship was on "routine patrol" when it became stranded Wednesday evening, according to the Chinese government.

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