China, the Philippines and Vietnam are to strengthen security cooperation in the Spratly islands after an apparent pirate attack left four Chinese dead there, the Philippine military chief said.
“We have agreed that we will continue our direct communication in the area so that these problems… piracy, smuggling, transnational crimes… can be resolved,” said military chief general Generosa Senga.
Senga held talks with his Vietnamese and Chinese counterparts last week following an attack in late April in the Spratlys on a Chinese fishing vessel that left four crewmen dead and three wounded.
Senga said an investigation had found that no Philippine government vessels were in the area and that the raid was “apparently by pirates.”
Chinese press reports earlier said that the attackers were believed to have come from the Philippines.
The Spratly Islands consist of more than 100 small islands or reefs in the South China Sea that are claimed partially or entirely by Brunei, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
All claimants but Brunei have troops posted in parts of the islands.