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Chinese Vessels Swarm Reef, Drawing Philippine Protest

  • About 220 Chinese vessels seen moored in line at Whitsun Reef
  • China says ships taking shelter near the reef from the wind
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The Philippines issued a formal diplomatic protest to China after hundreds of fishing vessels were spotted at a disputed reef in the South China Sea.

About 220 Chinese vessels were seen moored in line at Whitsun Reef in the South China Sea on March 7, a Philippine government task force overseeing the disputed seas said in a statement on Saturday. The area, which the Southeast Asian nation calls Julian Felipe, is a large but shallow boomerang-shaped coral reef within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, the task force said.