Philippine authorities Monday removed a floating barrier installed by China's coast guard at a disputed lagoon in the South China Sea.
"The decisive action of the Philippine coast guard to remove the barrier aligns with international law and the Philippines' sovereignty over the shoal," the coast guard said.
What is the latest conflict about?
A Philippines Coast Guard spokesperson said Sunday the alleged barrier, with a length of about 300 meters (some 1,000 feet), was discovered on Friday during a "routine maritime patrol."
Spokesperson Jay Tarriela said the floating barrier prevented Filipino fishing boats from entering the disputed Scarborough Shoal.
More than 50 boats were outside the shoal at the time, Tarriela said.
Why is the issue this sensitive?
The issue is the latest flare-up in a series of increasing confrontations between Chinese and Philippines vessels, as China asserts greater control over the sea.
A number of different countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan, lay competing territorial claims to parts of the sea.
But China claims sovereignty to nearly all of the sea, therefore cutting into maritime territories internationally recognized as belonging to other countries.
US patrol and jets have carried out patrols for decades to challenge Beijing's expansive claims.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has sought help to defend its maritime claims, including by holding joint drills with the US for the first time in a decade earlier this year and signing a maritime pact with Australia earlier this month.
rm/rc (AP, Reuters)