Philippines Deploys Ships To South China Sea Where China Is Building Artificial Island

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The Philippines mentioned on Saturday that it has deployed vessels to a disputed zone in the waters of the South China Sea, where it reportedly accused China of creating an artificial island in a maritime row.

The Coast Guard dispatched a vessel to supervise China’s illegal activities, which included building an artificial island.

The office of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr declared in a statement that two more vessels were in rotational deployment in that area.

Commodore Jay Tarriela, the Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson, informed a forum that the Sabina Shoal, which Manila refers to as the Escoda, was reclaimed on a small scale and that China was the most probable actor.

China’s embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Philippine assertions, which could exacerbate the bilateral rift.

On Friday, the Philippine national security adviser spoke on a phone call about expelling China’s diplomats regarding an alleged leak of a phone conversation with a Filipino admiral regarding the maritime dispute.

Manila and Beijing have been embroiled for a year in heated standoffs over competing claims in the South China Sea, where $3 trillion worth of trade passes yearly.

China claims nearly all the crucial waterways, including the parts claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that Beijing’s claims had no basis following international law.

China has conducted land reclamation on some of the islands in the South China Sea and built military and air force facilities, resulting in rising concerns in Washington and around the region.

Tarriela mentioned a Philippine vessel anchored at the Sabina Shoal to catch and document the dumping of crushed corals on the sandbars, citing the disturbing presence of dozens of Chinese vessels, including research and navy vessels.

Tarriela mentioned that China’s vessels at the atoll about 124 miles from Palawan coincided with the Coast Guard’s discovery of heaps of dead and crushed coral.

He said that the Coast Guard would take marine scientists to the regions to determine if coral piles were a natural occurrence or a result of human intervention.

He added that it aims to have a prolonged presence at Sabina Shoal, a rendezvous point for Philippine vessels conducting resupply missions to the Filipino troops stationed at the Second Thomas Shoal on a grounded warship.

China and Manila have frequently had maritime run-ins at Sabina Shoal.

Reference: Reuters

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