Despite recent warnings from the Philippines, China is continuing their intimidating activities in the disputed South China Sea, where they recently flashed a military-grade laser light on a Filipino Coast Guard vessel. Chinese ships are maintaining a presence in the Shoal, Spratly Islands chain, which the Philippines control.
PCG conducted an aerial survey of the area earlier this week, in which the Filipino outpost in Ayungin Shoal cut a sorry figure amidst a sea of Chinese Coast Guard ships. The survey trip was made in hindsight after the CCG’s laser light blinded a Filipino Coast Guard ship on February 6.
A diplomatic brawl broke out between China and the Philippines over this as the Filipino President called the Chinese ambassador and protested against this aggressive behaviour of China.
The Philippines is currently trying to garner support from other countries to tackle this “dangerous manoeuvre” of the Chinese, as they termed it.
This has led to support from Japan, Australia, US, who have reiterated their commitment to the 2016 Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration that dislodged China’s monopoly in the South China Sea.
The Philippines have vowed to expose this aggressive behaviour of China, saying that the global community needs to be aware of this.
At present, 5 countries claim regions of the Spratlys. These are Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, China and the Philippines. In its press release, the PCG revealed another such incident that happened in August last year.
In 1999, the Philippines claimed the Shoal island by grounding a ship there and using it as their military outpost in the South China Sea. They often send resupplies categorically blocked by Chinese vessels, like the laser light flashing incident.
During Tuesday’s air patrolling of the area, the PCG allowed two Filipino outlets onboard for the first time since Marcos came to power in June last year. 26 Chinese ships were seen around Sabina island, and 5 ships were seen around Shoal.
A CCG vessel was seen a nautical mile from the Philippine post in Shoal.
Journalists on the air patrol plane were sent ‘Welcome To China’ messages by PCG while they received Chinese radio signals asking the plane to change route and return as it was a threat to Chinese Islands.
PCG pilots retaliated, saying they were well within Filipino territory and asked Chinese ships to leave the area instantly.
References: Japan Times, Mainichi