The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - A Chinese fishing fleet of 30 vessels has begun operating in waters around the disputed Spratly Islands.
The fleet is the largest to go to the Spratlys, which are a major fishing ground with a potential catch of around 5 million tons a year.
The disputed islands, which are claimed in while or in part by several Asian countries including China and the Philippines, are also believed to sit on top of rich mineral and gas deposits.
News5 reports that China is also planning to undertake a deep sea dive mission in the South China Sea, which Manila calls the West Philippine Sea, next year.
Tensions between the Philippines and China over disputed territory have escalated over the past months since the Philippine Navy flagship intercepted Chinese fishing boats laden with banned marine species at Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal, triggering a standoff between the two countries' vessels.
Just recently, a Chinese frigate ran aground briefly off the Spratlys.
The tensions spilled over to the recent summit of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations when the Philippines tried to mention the tiff with China in a joint communique but was rebuffed by Cambodia.