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BEIJING, February 24 (Itar-Tass) – China’s ships continue their fishery patrol mission around Nansha Islands (also called the Spratly Islands) in the South China Sea to safeguard the legitimate interests of Chinese fishermen, the chief of the South China Sea fishery bureau under the Ministry of Agriculture, said on Sunday.
He noted that routine fishery patrols in the territorial waters surrounding the Nansha Islands will be the top priority for this year.
Patrol missions will be carried out around the Xisha Islands (also called the Paracel Islands), Beibu Gulf and the Huangyan Islands. As far as China enlarges the fleet of patrol vessels, the number of supervision missions will increase.
China has been in a territorial dispute with many countries of the region over the Xisha Islands, the Nansha Islands and the Huangyan Islands in the South China Sea, where huge hydrocarbon reserves had been discovered. This row more or less involves Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
In 2012 China’s fishery patrol ships had been patrolling waters around the Nansha Islands for 182 days.