The Philippines made a “clear” stance against Manila’s sovereignty on Monday, saying a Chinese coast guard vessel fired a military laser at a disputed Philippine Coast Guard ship in the South China Sea, temporarily blinding 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 Chinese coast guard has tried to block Philippine Coast Guard vessels in disputed waters before, but this is the first time it has used a laser to inflict physical pain on a Filipino official, according to the Philippine Coast Guard. Guard spokesman Admiral Armand Barillo told the Associated Press.
The military sees “security” as a barrier to recruitment, not “workeness”.
The Chinese embassy in Manila was not immediately available for comment.
“The Chinese vessel fired two green laser beams at the BRP Malapascua, causing temporary blindness to the crew on the bridge,” the Philippine statement said.
The Philippine vessel was forced to leave the area while escorting a supply vessel delivering food and crew to the BRP Sierra Madre, a Philippine Navy sentry vessel that has been stranded at Second Thomas Shoal since 1999. the Coast Guard said.
“The intentional obstruction of Philippine government vessels attempting to deliver food and supplies to Philippine military personnel aboard the BRP Sierra Madre is a blatant disregard and clear violation of Philippine sovereignty in the Western Philippine Sea. ‚” said the Coast Guard (the name the Philippines has adopted for its west coast waters).
Despite this incident, it was not immediately clear whether a Philippine resupply mission had taken place.
The Chinese Coast Guard also blocked a Philippine vessel escorting a supply vessel from approaching 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 addition to China and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims in this resource-rich waterway, through which most of the world’s 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 conducted joint exercises in the South China Sea over the weekend. It comes at a time when tensions with Beijing are rising over the shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon.
More than 30 years after closing major bases in the Philippines, the United States is rebuilding its military forces in the Philippines to strengthen the arc of military alliances in Asia.