Thursday, July 18, 2024
HomeHot TopicsConflict Escalates: Philippine Ship Collides with Chinese Vessel in South China Sea

Conflict Escalates: Philippine Ship Collides with Chinese Vessel in South China Sea

According to Beijing’s Coast Guard, a Philippine ship and a Chinese vessel collided on Monday in the South China Sea, close to the Spratly Islands.

China claims sovereignty over almost the whole South China Sea, despite competing claims from other countries in Southeast Asia, such as the Philippines, and an international decision that invalidates its claims.

China has constructed manmade islands on many reefs and patrolled them with coast guard ships and other boats to bolster its claims. This has caused multiple vessel collisions in contested zones between Chinese and Philippine boats.

China launched new coast guard rules on Saturday that permit them to hold foreign nationals for suspected trespassing in these disputed waters.

In a statement released on Monday, the coast guard in Beijing said that a “Philippine replenishment ship disregarded numerous serious warnings from the Chinese side” and that the ship’s unprofessional approach to their vessel caused the incident.

According to the statement, the Philippine ship had illegally entered the waters near Ren’ai Reef, which is referred to in Chinese as the Nansha Islands.

“The Chinese Coast Guard took lawful control measures against the Philippine ship,” the statement continued.

The President Ferdinand Marcos has expressed profound concern over the worsening situation after Manila accused the Chinese coast guard of acting aggressively and inhumanely toward Philippine vessels.

China has justified the new coast guard regulations, saying last month that they are meant to enhance maritime law and order.

In the disputed waters in the past, Chinese Coast Guard ships have harmed Filipino troops using water cannons directed at Philippine boats.

China’s “dangerous” provocations in the South China Sea were denounced by the Group of Seven nations.

Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei also claim overlapping portions in the South China Sea, an important maritime route.

Concerns over a wider confrontation involving the US and its allies over the region have been sparked by the recent tensions between China and the Philippines.

Trillions of dollars are traded globally each year in the South China Sea, which is thought to have substantial undeveloped gas and oil reserves beneath its seafloor, though estimates vary greatly.

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