Philippines urged China to cease its “dangerous blocking maneuvers” near Spratly Islands
The Philippines has urged China to cease its “provocative actions” in the South China Sea. In a recent incident, a Chinese Coast Guard vessel reportedly engaged in a confrontational maneuver with a Philippine supply boat heading towards an island.
The Philippine authorities have expressed concerns about the “dangerous blocking maneuvers” executed by the Chinese ship. Additionally, they have summoned the Chinese ambassador and lodged a diplomatic protest, as announced by the foreign ministry.
A spokesperson from the National Security Council of the Philippines confirmed that the Philippine supply boat sustained damage due to the actions of the Chinese vessel but thankfully, no injuries were reported.
The incident took place at a ring-shaped island located in the South China Sea, known in the West as the Second Thomas Shoal. This atoll is situated within the Spratly Islands, to the west of the Philippines. Like many other islands in this archipelago, multiple countries in the region lay claims to this particular atoll. In this case, both China and the Philippines assert ownership of the island and the surrounding coral reef, with the Philippines maintaining a small military presence.
The Philippine vessel was engaged in supplying the BRP Sierra Madre, a former warship that has been deliberately grounded by the Philippines at the Second Thomas Shoal.
The Chinese coast guard described the incident as a “minor collision” involving one of its ships and the Philippine boat. According to the Coast Guard, the boat was suspected of transporting “illegal construction materials” to the grounded warship, justifying their actions as a lawful blockade.
The Philippines has alleged that China is deliberately concealing the facts surrounding the collision that occurred on Sunday.
“What transpired yesterday constitutes a grave and overt breach of international law, marking an escalation of China’s expansionist and aggressive conduct,” stated Philippine Defense Minister Teodoro.
The South China Sea stands as one of the world’s busiest trade routes and, concurrently, one of the most contentious regions. Over the years, territorial disputes have generated ongoing tensions among China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei. These disputes routinely result in maritime confrontations.