Chinese government ships have left the lagoon but remain in waters of the Huangyan Island to provide services to the Chinese fishermen there, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday.
Spokesman Liu Weimin made the remarks at a daily press conference in response to a report saying that China and the Philippines have both agreed to withdraw their ships from a lagoon in this area
Huangyan Island is an undisputed integral part of Chinese territory, he said.
He said that on April 10, a number of Philippine military vessels harassed Chinese fishing boats in the lagoon, and the Chinese side has since lodged solemn representation to the Philippine side and sent its official ships to the spot for monitoring, thus prompting the Philippine side to withdraw all but one of its ships, he said.
The only Philippine ship that remained in the lagoon left on June 3, and the Chinese side hopes there will be no such incidents that jeopardize China's interests in the future, he added.
Liu said the lagoon has a rather fragile ecosystem, so China rarely allows large ships to sail in it, adding that China sent in two ships on May 30 for site-clearing after the withdrawal of the Philippine ships. And the clean-up ships left on June 5.
Chinese fishing boats are currently operating under normal conditions, and the Chinese government ships are continuing to offer management and services, he said.
He also said the Chinese side will continue to have negotiations with the Philippines on how to properly handle the incident concerning Huangyan Island and how to improve bilateral ties.