Philippines and China Clash in the South China Sea
A recent incident in the South China Sea has sparked tensions between the Philippines and China once again. A collision between a Philippine boat and a Chinese ship near a contested reef has escalated the ongoing territorial dispute between the two countries.
The Philippines has accused China of engaging in aggressive actions, including harassment, blocking, and dangerous maneuvers. Just a day before this incident, China was accused of using water cannons to obstruct three Philippine vessels. The Philippines claims that Chinese coast guard ships targeted their civilian supply vessels, resulting in severe damage to one of the boats’ engines.
On the other hand, China’s Coast Guard has placed the blame on the Philippine boat, accusing it of deliberately colliding with the Chinese vessel despite multiple warnings. According to China, they resorted to what they call “control measures” to deal with ships intruding into their waters.
The Territorial Dispute
The South China Sea is a hotbed of territorial disputes among China, the Philippines, and several other countries. The Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands has become a flashpoint, with both China and the Philippines asserting their claims. These tensions have been further exacerbated by the presence of over 135 military boats near a reef off the Philippine coast.
Friction between Philippines and China
The Philippines’ change in leadership, with Ferdinand Marcos Jr becoming president, has intensified the sovereignty claims dispute between the two countries. Last month, the Philippines conducted joint air and sea patrols with the US and Australia, signaling their efforts to strengthen alliances.
An international tribunal invalidated China’s claim to 90% of the South China Sea in 2016. However, China does not recognize this ruling and has been constructing artificial islands in the disputed waters. The contested waters have not only become a source of tension between China and the Philippines but have also strained China-US relations.
US Support for the Philippines
In October, US President Joe Biden reassured the Philippines that the US would defend them in case of any attack. This statement came shortly after two collisions between Filipino and Chinese vessels in the South China Sea. Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei are also claimants in parts of the sea, further complicating the situation.
Read More of this Story at www.bbc.com – 2023-12-10 11:15:37
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