Philippines says Chinese ship jammed coastguard vessel with laser

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.

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