Philippines Accuses China Of Harassing & Damaging Its Vessels In Disputed South China Sea

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Screengrab from video posted by Jay Tarriela on X

The Philippines accused the Chinese coast guard of harassing and damaging two of its vessels in a disputed region of the South China Sea, defying Beijing’s position that it had expelled the vessels from the contested shoal.

The Philippines’ task force said that water cannons had impaired a coast guard vessel and a fisheries vessel.

The Chinese coast guard ships reportedly used water cannons to help the Filipino fishermen in that area while sailing to the Scarborough Shoal.

The fisheries vessel had been rammed thrice by China’s coast guard and maritime vessels.

No nation has sovereignty over the Scarborough Shoal, an exceptional fishing patch close to the major shipping lanes many nations use.

The shoal falls within the Philippines’ EEZ.

The task force said in a statement that the latest Chinese irresponsible and unlawful behaviour emphasizes their disregard for the Philippines’ legal exercise of rights and entitlements in its EEZ.

China asserts sovereignty over much of the South China Sea, which aids over $3 trillion in ship-borne commerce annually and includes areas claimed by Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Brunei.


Video Credits: Jay Tarriela/Twitter

In 2016, a global tribunal ruled that China’s claim lacked a legal basis, a judgement Beijing has disregarded.

The Philippines stated China’s actions called into question its sincerity in attempts to minimise tensions in the strait.

According to the Philippine Coast Guard, the vessels remained on the shoal.

Spokesperson Jay Tarriela stated that such devastation proves the forceful water pressure exerted by the Chinese Coast Guard in harassing Philippine vessels.

For over a decade, China has seized the atoll. The waters surrounding the lagoon, which has historically served as a haven for vessels, especially during rough weather and storms, have been the focal point of numerous conflicts in recent years.

China’s coast guard said the vessels were expelled but didn’t offer further details regarding the incident.

China urges the Philippine side to stop provocative acts of infringement and not challenge China’s determination to defend its sovereignty, as mentioned by Lin Jian, a spokesperson associated with China’s foreign ministry, who explained this at a news briefing.

The Philippines’ Tarriela announced that its vessel, the BRP Bagacay, experienced damages to the canopy and railing and that China had also installed a floating barrier at the shoal’s entrance to restrict access.

The Philippine task force stated that the fisheries vessel’s navigation, ventilation, electrical, and radio systems were damaged.

The Philippines and China have traded accusations of unlawful conduct at the Scarborough Shoal, and Manila summoned a Chinese diplomat recently to explain fierce manoeuvres. China generally accuses the Philippines of encroaching on its territory.

The two nations earlier said they would seek improved communication over skirmishes in the South China Sea, but the tensions have risen recently as the Philippines forges robust diplomatic and military ties with the US.

Reference: Reuters

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Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

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