3 of 8 leave disputed shoal

MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Three of eight Chinese fishing boats at the center of a standoff between China and the Philippines have left a shoal in the disputed South China Sea, officials said Friday.

But the standoff continues, with two other Chinese surveillance ships and a Philippine coast guard vessel remaining in the area, said Gen. Jessie Dellosa, the Philippine armed forces chief.

The standoff began Tuesday when Chinese ships prevented the Philippine navy from detaining Chinese fishermen who were allegedly caught poaching at the Scarborough Shoal off the northwestern Philippines.

Both sides claim the uninhabited, horseshoe-shaped shoal, which lies about 200 kilometers (120 miles) from Zambales province, the nearest Philippine coast.

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Story courtesy of Associated Press.

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