Four Chinese ships carried out aggressive harassment maneuvers in recent days against a Filipino ship in disputed waters in the South China Sea, the Philippine Coast Guard reported Sunday.
The Philippine authorities indicated this in a statement The Philippine Coast Guard's BRP Teresa Magbanua has been harassed on more than 40 occasions by Chinese Coast Guard vessels around Bajo Mansilok Atoll. (Also called Scarborough or in China Huangyan Dao).
“CCG (Philippine Coast Guard) vessels executed dangerous maneuvers and intercepted the BRP Teresa Magbanua at sea on four occasions, with (Chinese) vessels crossing the bow of the PCG (Philippine Coast Guard) vessel on two occasions.” Philippine Agency.
However, he added that the BRP ship Teresa Magbanua, which left for the area on February 1 and had already completed its mission, was able to distribute food and water to fishermen in the area.
Beijing and Manila dispute sovereignty over Scarborough Atoll (Mansiluk Basin) and its surrounding waters.
Philippine authorities claim the atoll lies within its exclusive economic zone and that the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague rejected Beijing's sovereignty aspirations in 2016, a ruling the Chinese regime refuses to abide by.
China and the Philippines dispute sovereignty over several islands and atolls in the South China Sea.Almost entirely claimed by Beijing for “historical reasons,” it also disputes territories with Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Brunei.
These waters constitute a strategic area through which a third of global trade passes and are home to important fishing and energy resources.
Yesterday, the Southern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army said on its official account on the social networking site WeChat that its naval and air forces organized routine patrols in the disputed waters on Friday, the eve of the Lunar New Year.
He added: “Our forces remain on high alert at all times and will resolutely defend China's national sovereignty, security, and maritime rights and interests.”The statement stated.
The command covers the southern Chinese provinces of Canton, Hainan, Hunan, Yunnan and Guangxi, as well as the coastal areas of Hong Kong and Macau.
The maneuvers took place shortly after the Chinese Foreign Ministry warned Manila again that it was “playing with fire,” especially after the Philippine army announced that it would strengthen its military presence in the islands located in the far north of the country, near Taiwan, which is a strategic transit point. To the disputed South China Sea.
Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro ordered the military on Wednesday And strengthening its positions on the remote Batanes Islands, less than 200 kilometers from Taiwan, during a visit to naval facilities in the region.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin stressed on Thursday that Taiwan, the island that China claims as its own, is “at the heart” of its core interests and represents a “red line.”
“The Philippine side should understand this clearly, act wisely and refrain from playing with fire on the Taiwan issue,” he added.warning.
The spokesman added that China and the Philippines have a “long history of friendship” and should “treat each other with mutual respect” on issues such as national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Since the arrival of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to the presidency last year, the Philippines, which during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte (2016-2022) approached China, has taken a turn in search of strengthening its historic security alliance with the United States. Especially in light of increasing harassment by Chinese ships.
In 2023, Manila and Washington agreed that North American forces would have access to four bases in the country, three of which are located in the north, but none of them are in Batanes.
(With information from EFE)