A fleet of 30 Chinese vessels carrying a total of about 550 fisherman have arrived at the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, reports Lilian Lin of WSJ.The arrival of the six crews, accompanied by a team for the country’s state broadcaster, was broadcast on CCTV’s News 1+1 program with nationalistic music in the background.
The fleet, reportedly the largest ever to visit the islands, includes a 3,000 ton supply ship and is being escorted by a Yuzheng-310, China’s most advanced fishery administration patrol ship, to protect the fishing of the waters over the next 10 days.
The islands, known as the Nansha Islands in China, lie in resource-rich waters between Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam. The area contains high-yielding fishing grounds and potentially significant reserves of oil and natural gas.
Lin reports that China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei all claim sovereignty over parts of the archipelago.
Below is a report from CCTV 1+1 (music starts at 3:46):
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