China on Thursday urged two Philippine Naval vessels currently in water off Huangyan Island in the South China Sea to immediately withdraw.
Speaking at a regular press briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin made the remarks in reference to a confrontation taking place in the waterway between Chinese fishermen and vessels from the Philippines.
Liu said official ships dispatched by the Chinese government were not Naval ships and that they were already on their way to the scene.
China has been maintaining communication with the Philippines via diplomatic channels, he said, reiterating that China hopes the incident will not be further aggravated.
The spokesman said China’s law-enforcement ships were sent there to safeguard the safety of Chinese fishermen and vessels, as well as their legitimate fishing activities.
According to the administration, all the Chinese fishermen involved are from the country’s southern Hainan province, and they are currently all safe and emotionally stable.