The Philippines’ coast guard has accused China of engaging in “dangerous and blocking” maneuvers near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The confrontation occurred during a nine-day patrol by the Philippine vessel BRP Teresa Magbanua, during which it was shadowed by four Chinese coast guard (CCG) vessels more than 40 times. Additionally, four Chinese maritime militia vessels were reported near the shoal, intensifying tensions in one of Asia’s most contested maritime areas.
Scarborough Shoal, also claimed by China, has been a focal point for maritime disputes between the two nations. The Philippine coast guard asserted that their presence in the area aimed to protect Filipino fishermen from harassment in their traditional fishing grounds.
According to the Philippine coast guard, the Chinese vessels engaged in dangerous maneuvers, including crossing the bow of the BRP Teresa Magbanua, and disregarded international rules aimed at preventing collisions at sea.
China’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea conflict with those of the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. Despite a 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, which deemed China’s claims invalid, Beijing continues to assert its sovereignty over the region.
In response to the Philippines’ accusations, China’s foreign ministry reiterated its claim to sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal and defended the legality of its coastguard activities in the area. China urged the Philippines to respect its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and vowed to protect its interests in accordance with the law.
The latest incident underscores the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea and highlights the need for diplomatic efforts to address maritime disputes and prevent further escalation in the region.
Sources By Agencies