Large Number of Chinese Vessels Near Disputed Shoals As Balikatan Begins

China deployed several China Coast Guard (CCG) and China Maritime Militia (CMM) vessels in the area near Mischief Reef, Second Thomas Shoal, and Scarborough Shoal on April 22nd.

Around 29 large CCM vessels and two CCG ships were detected in the vicinity of Mischief and the Second Thomas Shoal. At least 14 CMM vessels and four CCG vessels were also detected in the area near Scarborough Shoal in the last two weeks.

The deployment of the CCG and the CMM vessels occurred as the annual Balikatan exercise between the Philippines and the United States began on April 22nd.