In a statement issued on February 13, the Philippine Coast Guard condemned the action of flashing a laser light on a Filipino crew by a China Coast Guard vessel on February 6, 2023. They said that this incident of the ship with bow number 5205 flashing a laser light at the Filipino ship clearly showed that the vessel wanted to block the Philippine vessel.
Meanwhile, on February 14, the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, summoned the Chinese Ambassador to express his concern over the increasing nature of such incidents between the PCG and the CCG in recent months. The foreign ministry has requested China to cease such aggressive activities in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, terming them ‘disturbing and disappointing’.
The Chinese Ambassador confirmed this by saying he discussed implementing the consensus agreed upon by the two nations in his talk with the Filippino President.
The P MALAPASCUA (MRRV-4403) was on its way to resupply the navy in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
The Chinese Coast Guard vessel came within 4 nautical miles of the portside of the Filipino ship, which was 10 nautical miles from reaching the Ayungin Shoal at that time. They flashed the military-grade laser light two times and came within 150 yards of the starboard side of the Filipino ship.
PCG also alleged that a similar incident of blocking PCG ships in the Ayungin Shoal happened in August last year, and such activities on the part of the CCG are a threat to the Philippines’ sovereign rights.
The CCG 5205 ship formed a 30 nautical miles blockade area with CCG 5102 and the Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM) as the 5205 vessel came close to the PCG ship BRP TERESA MAGBANUA and removed its naval equipment cover at 70 nautical miles distance. The CCG ship came as close as 2.5 nautical miles in this instance, which clearly indicates that the CMM was following CCG orders.
PCG has said it will continue to protect its territory from foreign aggression and sustain its presence in the West Philippine Sea to assert its sovereign rights.
References: Philippine Coast Guard, TOI, Reuters