Philippines Accuses China of Increasing Tensions in South China Sea
China’s Aggression and Increased Tensions
The Philippines has labeled China as an “aggressor” and accused it of escalating tensions in the South China Sea. Manila claims that China caused a collision that damaged one of its resupply boats during a recent mission. While no injuries were reported, the incident has drawn international condemnation and concern from the United States. The Philippine foreign ministry spokesperson emphasized that such incidents highlight that China, not the Philippines, is the aggressor.
China’s Explanation and Interference
China’s coast guard stated that there was a “slight collision” with the Philippine boat while lawfully blocking it from transporting “illegal construction materials.” However, this is not the first time China’s coast guard has interfered with the Philippines’ resupply missions. On a previous occasion, a Chinese coast guard ship even used a water cannon against a resupply boat. These actions have raised tensions between the two countries, as they assert their territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Philippines’ Assertiveness and Investigation
The Philippines, led by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, held a security meeting to address “the latest violation by China.” The president has expressed concerns about Beijing’s aggressive behavior and sought closer ties with the United States, a traditional ally. In response to the recent incident, the Philippines’ coast guard has been instructed to investigate the collision, with the government taking it seriously at the highest level.
Philippines’ Call for China to Respect International Law
The Philippines has urged China to cease its “illegal” and “provocative” actions in the South China Sea and respect the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The court’s ruling stated that China’s expansive claims in the region have no legal basis. The Philippines expects China to adhere to international law and uphold the rights of coastal states within their exclusive economic zones.
Escalation and Concerns
Images shared by the Philippine coast guard show Chinese coast guard vessels surrounding the Philippine resupply boats during the incident. Jonathan Malaya, a spokesperson for the Philippines’ National Security Council, holds China responsible for the collision and criticizes its presence in the West Philippine Sea. China’s embassy in Manila claims that the Philippine vessels were trespassing at the disputed shoal.
As tensions continue to rise between China and the Philippines, the international community will closely monitor the situation in the South China Sea.
Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz and Karen Lema; Additional reporting by Ethan Wang in Beijing; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Gerry Doyle
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Read More of this Story at www.reuters.com – 2023-10-23 08:49:19
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