Watch: Philippine Coast Guard Reports Chinese Coast Guard For Close Distance Maneuvering

The PCG had accused their Chinese counterpart of steering a vessel within a few meters of a Filipino patrol vessel in the South China Sea, risking collision and disregarding international rules. The incident took place on 2 March near the Scarborough Shoal, which is one of the region’s most lucrative fishing grounds and also a flashpoint between the two countries. However, the incident was made public on Sunday.

It was the fourth time from last year a Chinese coastguard vessel had engaged in “close distance maneuvering” close to the shoal, the PCG mentioned. China had reportedly seized Scarborough in 2012 from the Philippines after a standoff.

The Southeast Asian nation continues patrolling waters around the shoal that’s within its Exclusive Economic Zone. Artemio Abu, the PCG chief Admiral said that the attitude of the involved China Coast Guard vessels maximized the chances of collision with four capital vessels.

Image Credits: Philippine Coast Guard

Regarding the 2 March issue, the PCG declared that the Chinese vessel had ended up within 19 meters of the patrol boat, violating the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREGs).

The PCG has referred the issue to the foreign ministry, which then summoned China’s ambassador over yet another, separate incident regarding a Chinese navy vessel found to be “lingering” in the archipelagic waters of the Philippines.

Abu reported that his agency faced government orders for maintaining patrols near Scarborough Shoal, where fishermen from the Philippines continue fishing. There was no comment immediately from the Philippine foreign ministry or the Chinese embassy.

Tension between Beijing and Manila about the South China Sea has reportedly intensified during the last year of President Rodrigo Duterte’s office term. In 2016, Beijing did not bother about an international tribunal decision that announced the nation’s historical claim on most part of the South China Sea to be without any basis.

Duterte had apparently set aside the ruling as he was promised trade and investment in exchange, which have not materialized per critics. But in November he strengthened his stance, showing outrage after the Chinese coastguard ships had fired water cannons at the Filipino boats.

The latest incident happened on the eve of the largest war games between the US and the Philippines.


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