PH to remove floating barriers if China installs them in Ayungin Shoal

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 28) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will immediately remove floating barriers if China installs them in Ayungin Shoal.

"If they do that in Ayungin we will also have to remove the barriers," AFP Western Command Chief Alberto Carlos said. "We don't have to wait for the order of the president to remove that."

Carlos also encouraged more Filipinos to fish in Ayungin Shoal – assuring them there will be more presence of the AFP, Philippine Coast Guard, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to monitor the situation.

On Sept. 20, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) discovered that China's Coast Guard installed a 300-meter-long barrier in the southeast portion of Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal.

The PCG removed the barrier, which it said "posed a hazard to navigation, a clear violation of international law."

Bajo de Masinloc is located in the middle of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) inside the country's exclusive economic zone.

Beijing claims the shoal, which it calls "Huangyan Dao," is part of its territorial rights. It warned Manila not to make "provocation" or "stir up trouble" after the removal of the floating barrier.

"What the Philippines did looks like nothing more than self-amusement," China's Foreign Ministry said, adding that China will continue to assert its maritime rights over Scarborough Shoal.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro has refuted China's allegation that the national government is looking for trouble after the barrier removal in the WPS.

He said it is clear that China's intent is "to control the whole South China Sea."

With reports from CNN Philippines correspondent Tristan Nodalo.