HomeEconomyClashes Escalate Between Chinese and Philippine Ships in Disputed South China Sea

Clashes Escalate Between Chinese and Philippine Ships in Disputed South China Sea

There are several clashes between Chinese and Philippine ships in the area. A Philippine ship and a Chinese ship collided near Thomas II Shoal in the disputed South China Sea on Monday, China’s Coast Guard said.

The Second Thomas Shoal, known in China as Ren’ai Reef, houses the Philippine military garrison on the surface of the Sierra Madre naval base to assert Manila’s claim to the water.

There have been several skirmishes between Chinese and Philippine ships in the area, mostly when the Philippines tried to secure the garrison.

The shoal is about 200 km (120 mi) from Palawan Island in the western Philippines and about 1,000 km from mainland China, Hainan Island.

China’s coast guard said in a statement on Monday that Philippine processing vessels in the area “ignored numerous warnings issued by China”.

It “came close and collided with Chinese ships in an unprofessional manner,” he said.

Beijing accused the ship of “illegally destroying the sea near Ren’ai Reef in China’s Nansha Islands, Chinese Coast Guard has taken legal action against the Philippine ship,” he said.

Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, defying competing claims by several Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, and an international ruling that its position has no legal basis.

China is deploying coast guards and other boats to monitor the waters and has turned some reefs into military-made islands.

This month, Manila accused a Chinese boat of illegally seizing food and medicine destined for a Philippine outpost in Thomas II Shoal. The military said for the first time that supplies had been seized.

Chinese personnel on board then threw the items into the water, said Roy Vincent Trinidad, commodore of the Philippine Navy’s West Philippine Sea.

It was unclear whether it belonged to the Chinese coast guard or the navy, the military said. China responded by claiming that the Sierra Madre reef was illegally occupied and asked the Philippines “not to cause problems”.

New Chinese coastguard rules came into effect on Saturday that could arrest foreigners for illegal activities in the disputed sea.

Manila accused the Chinese coast guard of “brutal and inhumane actions” against Philippine ships, and President Ferdinand Marcos called the new rules “worryingly” strict.

China’s coast guard has defended its new regulations. A Foreign Office spokesman said last month the aim was to “maintain better order at sea”.

Chinese coast guard ships have repeatedly used water cannons against Philippine boats in disputed waters. There were also clashes in which Filipino troops were injured.

The Group of Seven criticized China’s “dangerous” attacks in the South China Sea on Friday.

The standoff between China and the Philippines has increased fear of a wider conflict in the sea involving the United States and other allies.

Trillions of dollars in trade related to shipping goods pass through the South China Sea every year, and although estimates vary, vast deposits of undeveloped oil and gas are thought to lie beneath the seabed.

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