Philippines says Chinese ship jammed coastguard vessel with laser

The Philip¬≠pines made a ‚Äúclear‚ÄĚ stance against Mani¬≠la‚Äôs sov¬≠er¬≠eign¬≠ty on Mon¬≠day, say¬≠ing a Chi¬≠nese coast guard ves¬≠sel fired a mil¬≠i¬≠tary laser at a dis¬≠put¬≠ed Philip¬≠pine Coast Guard ship in the South Chi¬≠na Sea, tem¬≠porar¬≠i¬≠ly blind¬≠ing some of its crew. accused of infringement.

The Philip­pine Coast Guard said in a state­ment that on Feb­ru­ary 6, the Chi­nese ves­sel also sank about 137 meters (137 meters) to pre­vent the Philip­pine patrol ves­sel BRP Mala­pas­cua from approach­ing Sec­ond Thomas Shoal, an under­wa­ter reef occu­pied by Philip­pine forces. 449 feet), the ship was maneu­vered at a dan­ger­ous distance.

In 2022 alone, the Philip­pines has filed near­ly 200 diplo­mat­ic protests against Chi­na’s aggres­sive actions in dis­put­ed waters.

Chi­na claims almost all of the South Chi­na Sea, which could put it in con­flict with oth­er claimants. For­mer Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Rodri­go Duterte and his suc­ces­sor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos Jr. met in Bei­jing with Chi­na’s Xi Jin­ping in Jan­u­ary, but ten­sions per­sist and the mil­i­tary alliance between the Philip­pines and the Unit­ed States is expect­ed to grow clos­er. It’s becoming

The Chi¬≠nese coast guard has tried to block Philip¬≠pine Coast Guard ves¬≠sels in dis¬≠put¬≠ed waters before, but this is the first time it has used a laser to inflict phys¬≠i¬≠cal pain on a Fil¬≠ipino offi¬≠cial, accord¬≠ing to the Philip¬≠pine Coast Guard. Guard spokesman Admi¬≠ral Armand Bar¬≠il¬≠lo told the Asso¬≠ci¬≠at¬≠ed Press.

The mil¬≠i¬≠tary sees ‚Äúsecu¬≠ri¬≠ty‚ÄĚ as a bar¬≠ri¬≠er to recruit¬≠ment, not ‚Äúworke¬≠ness‚ÄĚ.
The Chi­nese embassy in Mani­la was not imme­di­ate­ly avail­able for comment.

‚ÄúThe Chi¬≠nese ves¬≠sel fired two green laser beams at the BRP Mala¬≠pas¬≠cua, caus¬≠ing tem¬≠po¬≠rary blind¬≠ness to the crew on the bridge,‚ÄĚ the Philip¬≠pine state¬≠ment said.

The Philip¬≠pine ves¬≠sel was forced to leave the area while escort¬≠ing a sup¬≠ply ves¬≠sel deliv¬≠er¬≠ing food and crew to the BRP Sier¬≠ra Madre, a Philip¬≠pine Navy sen¬≠try ves¬≠sel that has been strand¬≠ed at Sec¬≠ond Thomas Shoal since 1999. the Coast Guard said.

‚ÄúThe inten¬≠tion¬≠al obstruc¬≠tion of Philip¬≠pine gov¬≠ern¬≠ment ves¬≠sels attempt¬≠ing to deliv¬≠er food and sup¬≠plies to Philip¬≠pine mil¬≠i¬≠tary per¬≠son¬≠nel aboard the BRP Sier¬≠ra Madre is a bla¬≠tant dis¬≠re¬≠gard and clear vio¬≠la¬≠tion of Philip¬≠pine sov¬≠er¬≠eign¬≠ty in the West¬≠ern Philip¬≠pine Sea. ‚Äö‚ÄĚ said the Coast Guard (the name the Philip¬≠pines has adopt¬≠ed for its west coast waters).

Despite this inci¬≠dent, it was not imme¬≠di¬≠ate¬≠ly clear whether a Philip¬≠pine resup¬≠ply mis¬≠sion had tak¬≠en place.

The Chi¬≠nese Coast Guard also blocked a Philip¬≠pine ves¬≠sel escort¬≠ing a sup¬≠ply ves¬≠sel from approach¬≠ing No. 2 Thomas Reef in August. 

At that time, one of the ships joined by two Chi­nese civil­ian ves­sels uncov­ered its 70mm arma­ment, the Coast Guard said, adding that it would not deter a Chi­nese aggres­sion to pro­tect Philip­pine sov­er­eign­ty in the dis­put­ed waters. added.

In addi¬≠tion to Chi¬≠na and the Philip¬≠pines, Viet¬≠nam, Malaysia, Tai¬≠wan and Brunei also have over¬≠lap¬≠ping claims in this resource-rich water¬≠way, through which most of the world‚Äôs trade and oil flows.

The Unit­ed States does not claim sov­er­eign­ty over the dis­put­ed waters, but deploys troops to patrol the waters to pro­mote free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion and air­space. The move angers Bei­jing and warns Wash­ing­ton to stop inter­fer­ing in what it sees as a pure­ly Asian conflict.

The US Navy and Marine Corps con¬≠duct¬≠ed joint exer¬≠cis¬≠es in the South Chi¬≠na Sea over the week¬≠end. It comes at a time when ten¬≠sions with Bei¬≠jing are ris¬≠ing over the shoot¬≠ing down of a Chi¬≠nese spy balloon. 

More than 30 years after clos¬≠ing major bases in the Philip¬≠pines, the Unit¬≠ed States is rebuild¬≠ing its mil¬≠i¬≠tary forces in the Philip¬≠pines to strength¬≠en the arc of mil¬≠i¬≠tary alliances in Asia.

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