Chinese ships return to Hainan after stand-off with Philippine warship
Chinese fishing vessels that were involved in a five-day stalemate with the Philippine Navy are back in port after they left Huangyan island in the western part of South China. Ten Chinese boats are still fishing in the area, while one Chinese surveillance ship has remained behind to provide protection.
The stand-off erupted when the Philippine Navy spotted Chinese fishing boats that were seeking refuge from bad weather at a lagoon off Huangyan Island on April 8. The Philippines sent its largest warship to block the entrance of the lagoon on April 10.
Two Chinese Marine Surveillance ships near the area rushed to the scene to protect the Chinese fishermen from being harassed.
Chen Minghai, one of the crewmen from the Chinese vessels, recalled the experience when he and other four co-workers on board saw the Philippine warship near Huangyan Island.
Crewman Chen Minghai said, "Five of the Philippine soldiers boarded our vessel with sub machine guns, they searched our vessel and took some photos."
After suffering illegitimate harassment, the crewmen asked for help from Chinese Marine Surveillance ships, which came to Huangyan Island at around 5pm that day.
Chen Minghai said he would continue fishing in the Nansha Island area which is an integral part of China.
For fishermen at Tanmen Port in Hainan Province, the South China Sea area has been their fishing grounds since ancient times.
This handwritten copy Geng Lubu, a fishing history book finished during the Qing Dynasty, is a strong evidence to China’s claim.
Lu Chuanfu, chairman of Culture Association of Qionghai, Hainan province, said, "When the ancient fishermen went fishing in Xisha Islands or in Nansha Islands in the South China Sea, they recorded the locations and directions of island reefs along the water course in this Geng Lubu. As a non-governmental history book, it is evidence that Chinese fishermen are the first to develop Xisha Islands and Nansha Islands. "
Two Chinese fishing vessels sailed back safely to Tanmen Port in Hainan province on April 14th and April 15th respectively, which helped defuse the situation between China and the Philippines.
Meanwhile another ten ships have resumed fishing in areas around Xisha Islands and Nansha Islands.
On Monday, China urged the Philippines to withdraw all of its vessels from the Huangyan Island area to restore peace and stability in the region.
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