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HomeHot TopicsPhilippine Coast Guard Reports Reckless Actions by Chinese Ships near Scarborough Shoal

Philippine Coast Guard Reports Reckless Actions by Chinese Ships near Scarborough Shoal

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has accused the Chinese coast guard of engaging in hazardous maneuvers in Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea during a nine-day patrol earlier this month.

According to the PCG, four China Coast Guard vessels with bow numbers 3105, 3302, 3063, and 3064 executed dangerous maneuvers against the PCG’s BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701) four times, attempting to cut its path twice. The PCG, in a statement, criticized the Chinese ships for recklessly disregarding international rules aimed at preventing collisions at sea.

During the nine-day patrol that began on Feb. 1, the Chinese ships reportedly shadowed the Philippine vessel on 40 occasions. Additionally, four Chinese maritime militia members were observed supporting the Chinese coast guard ship during the mission.

The PCG stated that BRP Teresa Magbanua professionally engaged with the Chinese ships through radio communication, reiterating the Philippines’ clear and principled position in accordance with international law. The PCG emphasized the Philippines’ sovereignty over Bajo de Masinloc and its territorial sea, along with sovereign rights and jurisdiction over surrounding waters within the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The international arbitral tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines on July 12, 2016, declaring China’s claims, including the nine-dash line, recent land reclamation activities, and other activities in Philippine waters, as unlawful. However, China has not recognized this ruling.

During the patrol, the PCG supported 100 Filipino fishermen in 14 boats near Bajo de Masinloc, providing assistance by distributing food packs and groceries.

On Feb. 5, the Chinese coast guard claimed to have expelled a PCG ship that allegedly intruded near Bajo de Masinloc, a claim later dismissed by the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea.

China’s expansive claims over the South China Sea, including parts claimed by neighboring countries, such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei, have caused tensions. Bajo de Masinloc, a valuable fishing ground off Zambales province, lies within the Philippines’ EEZ. In 2012, China seized control of the shoal, leading to a case filed by the Philippine government before the international arbitration court.

During a maritime cooperative activity in the West Philippine Sea, a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy vessel shadowed Philippine and US Navy ships. However, the Philippine Navy spokesperson clarified that no illegal maneuvers occurred during the event.

Diplomatic talks between the Philippines and China took place in Shanghai a few weeks ago, where both countries agreed to manage disputes and enhance maritime communication during the eighth meeting of the China-Philippines Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (BCM) on the South China Sea. Both sides pledged to handle incidents through diplomacy, aiming to create favorable conditions for the sound and stable development of China-Philippines relations.

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