China, Philippines’ dispute over grounded warship heats up

China, Philippines’ dispute over grounded warship heats up

China has once again requested that the Philippines remove a grounded warship, which is currently being used as a military outpost, from a disputed shoal. This comes after Manila rejected Beijing’s previous demand. Tensions between the two countries have escalated over the South China Sea, with the Philippines aligning itself with the United States in its maritime disputes with China.

China’s embassy in Manila has criticized the United States for “hyping up” the South China Sea issue and the boat incident by gathering its allies. The embassy stated that the South China Sea is not a place for countries outside the region to cause trouble and create discord.

The Second Thomas Shoal, located within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, is home to a small number of troops stationed on the former warship Sierra Madre. The Philippines intentionally grounded the vessel in 1999 to strengthen its sovereignty claims. Manila has accused the Chinese coastguard of blocking resupply missions to its troops on multiple occasions, including an incident on August 5 when a Philippine vessel was sprayed with a water cannon.

China maintains that the Philippines’ occupation of the shoal is illegal. The Philippine military described the actions of the Chinese coastguard as “excessive and offensive,” while China claimed it was a warning and that it has always exercised rational restraint.

China’s defense ministry has urged Manila to stop provocative actions and has vowed to continue taking necessary measures to protect its sovereignty and maritime rights.

Security experts believe that China’s actions around the shoal indicate its desire to gain control over it. Rommel Ong, a maritime security expert and retired vice commander of the Philippine Navy, stated that it is crucial for the Philippines to regain control of the shoal to protect its resupply missions from China’s coercive tactics.

This is not the first time the Chinese coastguard has used a water cannon against a Manila boat. A similar incident occurred in November 2021. Although no one was injured in the August 5 incident, Philippine officials reported that one of their boats did not complete its resupply mission.

China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, which overlaps with the exclusive economic zones of several other countries. Experts believe that China would hesitate to use force to occupy the shoal due to the potential political risks, including triggering a mutual defense treaty between the United States and the Philippines.

The Philippines National Security Council has urged China not to escalate the situation and put lives at risk. Japan and France have expressed concern over China’s recent actions and reiterated their support for a 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated Beijing’s expansive South China Sea claims.

During the water cannon incident, the Philippine foreign ministry was unable to reach its counterpart in China for several hours.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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