Singapore, which doesn’t make assertion to any of the waters of the South China Sea, beyond we expect a two hundred mile limit area, has called on Beijing to clarify claims to disputed areas of the South China Sea. Singapore has received, in a port call, the Chinese vessel Haixun 31,which has commenced patrolling the region including the Paracel and Spratly Island groups doing surveying, inspection of oil wells, and, China states, “to protect Maritime security.” The actions by China are deemed “confrontational.”
China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all claim territory in the oil and natural gas rich region.
A statement from Singapore reads: “It is our hope that parties to the disputes in the South China Sea will act with restraint to create conditions conducive to the peaceful settlement of these disputes and the continuation of peace, stability and growth.”
The Haixun 31 is China’s largest and most capable patrol boat, with a helipad, a hangar, and a flight control tower. It will be the lead ship in a small convoy. The Haixun 31 was earlier brought out by China for patrol in the East Sea, around the Chunxiao gas field, and area in dispute between China and Japan.
Chinese news sources report the sailing of the Haixun 31 and the civilian patrol group as a “journey to carry out patrols of the waters being developed by China in the South China Sea. This includes monitoring shipping, carrying out surveys, inspecting oil wells and enforcing maritime security.” The June 17 release to the Xinhuanet calls this a 2,600 kilometer, six day voyage.
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