Tension in the South Sea: Philippines accused China of ramming its ships in its exclusive economic zone

Tension in the South Sea: Philippines accused China of ramming its ships in its exclusive economic zone
Tension in the South Sea: Philippines accused China of ramming its ships in its exclusive economic zone

A Chinese Coast Guard ship blocking a Philippine supply ship en route to the Second Thomas Shoal sandbar in the South China Sea (REUTERS/Adrian Portugal/file)

Philippine and Chinese ships collided on Monday near the Ayungin sandbar (Second Thomas Shoalin English), in the South China Seaand both parties accused each other of being to blame for the incident.

Known in Chinese as Ren’ai Reefin recent months there has been a increasing number of clashes between Chinese and Filipino ships on this shoal, as Beijing intensified its efforts to impose its claims in the disputed area.

They have often occurred during Philippine attempts to supply a garrison of Filipino troops on a stranded navy ship, the Sierra Madrewhich serves to assert Manila’s claims over the reef.

He Second Thomas Shoal It is located about 200 kilometers from the western Philippine island of Palawan and more than 1,000 kilometers from the closest landmass to China, the island of Hainan.

The Chinese coast guard stated that a Philippine replenishment ship in the area had “ignored many solemn warnings from the Chinese side.”

HE “approached the Chinese ship in an unprofessional manner, causing a collision“Beijing declared, accusing the ship of having “illegally broken into the sea near Ren’ai Reef.”

“The Chinese Coast Guard took control measures against the Philippine ship in accordance with the law,” he added.

But The Philippine armed forces described the Chinese version of events as “misleading”denouncing “the presence and illegal actions of Chinese ships within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.”

The Philippine Navy ship Sierra Madre anchored near the sandbank known as Ayungin and equipped with infantry on board to protect the perimeter of the Spratly Islands (EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO)

Manila’s national task force on the West Philippine Sea later stated that the Chinese vessels had “carried out dangerous maneuvers, including ramming and towing”.

“His actions they endangered the lives of our staff and they damaged our boats.”

The Philippine government statement did not specify which ships were hit or the extent of the damage.

For his part, the Philippine Secretary of Defense, Gilberto C. Teodoropledged to defend his country’s sovereignty, stating that China’s “dangerous and reckless behavior in the West Philippine Sea will be resisted.”

“It must now be clear to the international community that China’s actions are the real Obstacles to peace and stability in the South China Sea”he added.

Beijing claims almost the entire South China Seaignoring the claims of several Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, and an international ruling that considers that its position lacks legal basis.

Deploys coast guard and other vessels to patrol the waters and has turned several reefs into militarized artificial islands.

In recent months it has intensified its actions against Philippine ships in the area near Second Thomas Shoal.

This month, Manila accused Chinese ships of illegally seizing food and medicine airlifted to the Philippine outpost in the area.

Philippine navy personnel collecting remains of food packages floating in the seas of Second Thomas Shoal (Armed Forces of the Philippines via AP)

It was the first time supplies had been seized, according to the military.

Chinese ship staff He later threw the items into the watersaid Philippine Navy spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad.

It was unclear whether they belonged to the coast guard or the Chinese navy, according to the military.

China responded by insisting that the Sierra Madre had run aground illegally on the reef and urged Philippines to “stop creating problems.”

Chinese coast guard vessels have used water cannon against Philippine vessels on multiple occasions,

On Saturday the new rules of the Chinese coast guardby virtue of which they can detain foreigners for alleged intrusion into the disputed sea.

The Philippines has accused the Chinese coast guard of “barbaric and inhuman behavior” against their shipsand the President Ferdinand Marcos has described the new climbing rules as “very worrying”.

China has defended its new coast guard rules. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson stated last month that his goal was to “better maintain order at sea.”

Chinese coast guard vessels have used water cannons against Philippine vessels on multiple occasionsand collisions have occurred in which Filipino troops have been injured.

The block of Group of Seven criticized on Friday what he described as “dangerous” incursions by China in the South China Sea.

Clashes between China and the Philippines have raised fears of a broader conflict over the sea that could involve the United States and other allies.

They transit through the South China Sea annually billions of dollars in maritime tradeand huge untapped oil and gas deposits are believed to lie beneath its seabed, although estimates vary greatly.

(With information from AFP)

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