China and Philippines face off over South China Sea collision

In the latest incident in the waters disputed by China and the Philippines, two vessels collided.

An aerial view shows the BRP Sierra Madre on the contested Second Thomas Shoal, locally known as Ayungin, in the South China Sea, March 9, 2023 [Reuters]Published On 17 Jun 202417 Jun 2024

China and the Philippines have sought to blame one another as their boats collide in the South China Sea.

The China Coast Guard (CCG) said in a statement on Monday that a Philippine supply ship was at fault for a slight collision with a Chinese vessel. The Philippines quickly rejected that account, as tension flared in the latest incident surrounding the disputed South China Sea.

Keep reading

list of 3 itemsend of list

The Chinese statement claimed that a Philippine transport and replenishment ship ignored repeated “solemn warnings,” and instead proceeded to “dangerously and unprofessionally” approach the Chinese ship, resulting in a collision.

It did not say whether anyone was injured or how badly the unnamed vessels may have been damaged.

Beijing accused the Philippine ship of “illegally breaking into the sea near Ren’ai Reef in China’s Nansha Islands”, which is the Chinese name for the disputed Spratly Islands.

“The Chinese Coast Guard took control measures against the Philippine ship in accordance with the law,” it added without elaborating.

Xerxes Trinidad, chief of the Philippine armed forces’ public affairs office, told reporters that the claims by the CCG are “deceptive and misleading” and that the military would not discuss operational details of resupply missions.

“The continued aggressive actions of the CCG are escalating tensions in the region.”

The military official added that the presence and activities of Chinese vessels in the area of the Second Thomas Shoal, the area where the incident took place that falls within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), is illegal.

Beijing claims almost the entirety of the South China Sea, challenging competing claims by multiple Southeast Asian nations, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

China and the Philippines have for months traded accusations over dangerous manoeuvres and collisions in the area of the shoal.

While repeatedly warning the Philippines against intruding into its territorial waters, China has also issued new rules which went into effect on Saturday. Those rules enforce a 2021 law that China says allows its coastguard to use lethal force against foreign ships in waters that it claims.

The coastguard can also detain foreigners who are suspected of trespassing for up to 60 days without trial.

An international tribunal in The Hague rejected China’s claims to the South China Sea in a 2016 ruling that Beijing has since ignored.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies