China Asks Philippines To Remove Its Grounded Ship from Second Thomas Shoal In South China Sea

China informed the Philippines on Monday to remove a grounded warship in the Second Thomas Shoal, South China Sea, after successfully blocking two Manila supply vessels with water cannons during the weekend as both sides started asserting claims on the area.

The Philippines further accused China’s coast guard of blocking and water-cannoning a military supply vessel from the Philippines on what it declared as a routine troop resupply and rotation mission on Saturday for the Philippine-based warship, a rusty World War II-era American vessel that a handful of troops live aboard.

Video Credit: Philippine Coast Guard/ Facebook

China mentioned it had earlier informed Manila not to send vessels out to the Second Thomas Shoal and not to send construction materials used primarily for large-scale repairs and reinforcement to the warship after learning of the recent supply strategy, China’s coast guard mentioned in its statement on Monday.

Further, China urged the Philippines to restore the Second Thomas Shoal and mentioned that it had permitted the transport of daily necessities, including food, to the grounded vessel, per China’s statement, adding that it used the water cannon to prevent a collision from a direct interception.

In 1999, the Philippines intentionally grounded the warship for staking claim to the Second Thomas Reef, a submerged reef that belongs to the Spratly Islands.

Over the weekend, China mentioned having “indisputable” sovereignty of the region and further urged the Philippines to pause infringing activities in these waters.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Filipino President, stated on Monday that the nation continued asserting its sovereignty and territorial rights despite the challenges in the waters of the South China Sea.
Marcos added that the Philippines had relayed complaints against China.

No individual was injured in the maritime incident; however, the Philippines has been considering its next steps for resupplying the troops.

China claims sovereignty over almost the whole South China Sea and the Spratly Island, which comprises islets, shoals, and rich reef banks and lies in the middle of the South China Sea and along crucial shipping channels.

China, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines have claimed the island.

References: nikkei, reuters

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