Philippines Coast Guard Accuses China Of Provocative Maneuvers In South China Sea

During a nine-day patrol near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) accused China of “dangerous” maneuvers. The incident happened while the Philippine vessel BRP Teresa Magbanua patrolled the reef’s surrounding waters to safeguard Filipino fishermen’s safety and preserve their conventional fishing grounds.

The reef, inside the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines, has been a source of conflict between China and the Philippines since China took control of it in 2012. Manila claims that Chinese patrol vessels interfere with Philippine vessels’ access to the lagoon, a fish-rich area, and harass Filipino fishermen there.

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According to the PCG, the BRP Teresa Magbanua was the target of “dangerous and blocking maneuvers” by Chinese coast guard vessels, crossing the vessel’s path numerous times throughout the operation. Additionally, four Chinese coast guard vessels “shadowed” the PCG vessel over 40 times. Four Chinese maritime militia vessels were also spotted in the region by the Philippine Coast Guard.

The incidents occurred when China and the Philippines were still at odds over claimed reefs in the South China Sea. In the past, there have been occurrences involving vessel crashes and Chinese ships using water cannons to target Philippine boats.

Over $3 trillion worth of maritime trade passes through the South China Sea each year, entirely claimed by China. Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam all share Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).

According to the Chinese foreign ministry, the Scarborough Shoal is Beijing’s sovereign territory, and Chinese coastguard operations there are authorised. It stated China demands that the Philippines stop engaging in maritime infringement and respect its territorial sovereignty, marine rights, and interests. Beijing has disagreed with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague’s 2016 decision, which concluded that China’s claims lacked legal basis.

Officials from China and the Philippines agree that more communication is necessary to handle maritime emergencies in the South China Sea. However, tensions still exist since both countries want to establish their claims in the disputed waters.

Reference: Reuters, The Hindu

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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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