Chinese Navy Ship Floated off Disputed Shoal
by VOA News July 15, 2012
A Chinese navy ship that ran aground Wednesday in disputed waters near the Philippines was refloated Sunday and is heading home. A statement from China's defense ministry said its personnel are safe and the ship sustained light damage.
The vessel was in the South China Sea when it struck Half Moon Shoal in the Spratly Islands, about 110 kilometers off the western Philippine island of Palawan. The shoal is within the Philippines' 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone, in an area believed to be rich in mineral deposits.
The Philippines, China, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam each claim all or part of the Spratly Islands. The dispute marred the annual meeting of Southeast Asian foreign ministers last week in Cambodia, where Manila's chief diplomat accused China of "duplicity" and intimidation.
The Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs says it is monitoring the situation and is investigating the circumstances that led to the ship grounding.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
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