Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Chinese chopper patrols over Spratlys - report

A Chinese helicopter patrolled parts of the disputed Spartly Islands in the West Philippine Sea on Monday afternoon, the Chinese government reported.

China's government portal on Tuesday posted a Xinhua report quoting the Guangdong Maritime Safety Administration as saying the chopper monitored part of the Islands.

"The helicopter took off from the Haixun 31, a marine surveillance ship, to monitor maritime traffic in waters near Dongmen Reef of the Nansha Islands," it said.

The administration also said that this was the first time a Chinese maritime helicopter was dispatched to patrol the South China Sea.

China refers to the Spratlys as the Nansha Islands. It is one of six claimants to the islands, the others being the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Xinhua said the Haixun 31 is one of three Chinese marine surveillance ships that left Sanya Port in Hainan province last Thursday.

China said the patrol seeks to boost China's maritime law enforcement capacity and test the patrol team's response abilities in the South China Sea.

It added the fleet has "covered 800 nautical miles, monitored the navigation environment in waters near the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha Islands and conducted safety inspections for more than 40 Chinese and foreign vessels."-GMA News (March 06, 2013 7:03AM)

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