Philippines protests China's 'sovereignty patrols' in South China Sea

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The Philippines says it will file a new diplomatic protest for frequent patrols by Chinese ships in the South China Sea within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone, which extends out 200 nautical miles.

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said Monday that Chinese "illegitimate sovereignty patrols" in Philippine waters were part of Beijing's efforts to change the status quo in the South China Sea in violation of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

President Benigno Aquino III said in an interview with Manila's TV5 network that the military had recently spotted two Chinese maritime survey ships in the Reed Bank, some 85 nautical miles off western Palawan province, but it wasn't clear what they were doing in the potentially oil- and gas-rich area.