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Patrol vessel reaches island group

CHINA'S largest ocean surveillance ship reached the Xisha islands group yesterday, reinforcing the country's sovereignty over the South China Sea, the Guangzhou Daily reported today.

The ship, China Yuzheng 311, sailed from Sanya, Hainan Island, on Saturday after provisioning for two days, the report said.

The ship set out from Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, on March 10 to patrol and protect Chinese fishing grounds around the Nansha and Xisha islands.

China Yuzheng 311 is a converted vessel of 4,600 tons and is the country's largest fisheries patrol ship with a top speed of 37 kilometers per hour.

Because some countries claim sovereignty of areas there, Chinese patrol ships have been challenged in the past by overseas vessels in the South China Sea. Some Chinese fishermen have been held illegally.

China has long claimed sovereignty over the South China Sea and the South China Sea Fisheries Administrative Bureau plans to expand its patrol fleet to strengthen security over the next five years, according to a Shanghai Daily report.

The Philippines and Malaysia have both tried to claim sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea recently.


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