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September 20, 2017

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China reportedly blocks fishing vessels from shoal

MANILA -- Chinese coast guard vessels repeatedly blocked or chased Filipino and Vietnamese fishermen from a disputed shoal where they previously had only tried to block military supply runs, a Philippine marine officer said Tuesday.

Marine 1st Lt. Mike Pelotera said he and his men saw the fishermen being "bullied" away from the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea at least eight times from December to March, when his marine monitoring unit was replaced by a new batch.

He said he shot a video of a Chinese ship chasing a wooden-hulled Vietnamese fishing boat dangerously close to coral outcrops.

Pelotera's comments were the first military report of such activity against fishermen trying to venture into Second Thomas Shoal.

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