Philippines denounces ‘dangerous maneuvers’ by Chinese ships in its waters

Manila, Apr 28 (EFE).- The Philippine coast guard on Friday denounced “dangerous maneuvers” by Chinese ships around disputed islands in the South China Sea.

“On the morning of April 23, 2023, two Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessels intercepted the PCG ( (Philippine Coast Guard) vessels that were in the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal,” whose sovereignty is disputed between Manila and Beijing, the Philippine Coast Guard said in a statement.

The Chinese ships “exhibited aggressive tactics,” it added.

One of the Chinese vessels carried out “dangerous maneuvers” near one of the Philippine ships, maintaining a distance of only 50 yards between them.

“This close proximity posed a significant threat to the safety and security of the Philippine vessel and its crew,” the coast guard said.

The Ayungin Shoal is located some 105 nautical miles from the southwestern Philippine coast, within the 200 nautical mile limit established by the United Nations to determine the maritime sovereignty of countries, according to a convention which China ratified in 1996.

The Philippine coast guard also reported another incident on Apr. 21, when a Chinese navy ship ordered one of its vessels, sailing at a distance of 7 nautical miles from Pag-asa Island, to leave the area.

The Chinese ship said that failure to do so could “cause (a) problem.”

The Philippine Coast Guard said that during a seven-day patrol conducted in the West Philippine Area between Apr. 18 to 24, 2023, over 100 alleged Chinese maritime militia vessels, one People’s Liberation Army Navy corvette class and two Chinese coast guard ships were identified.

On Wednesday, the United States and the Philippines sank a decommissioned ship near a shoal seized by China in Philippine territorial waters in the South China Sea in 2012.

The maneuver was carried out in the waters of the Zambales province, located near Scarborough Shoal, which China forcibly took control of in 2012 in the South China Sea, thereby intensifying the conflict between Beijing and Manila over the sovereignty over a handful of islets and reefs in these waters.

Beijing has also strongly objected to the new military agreement between the US and the Philippines, announced on Apr. 3 and which gives US troops access to four new bases on Philippine soil, including one located about 400 kilometers from Taiwan, a self-ruling island that Beijing has not ruled out invading and that Washington would in principle defend.

Another of the bases is located near the disputed islands in the Spratly archipelago.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is scheduled to meet his American counterpart, Joe Biden, in Washington on May 1.

The leaders are expected to address the growing tensions in the South China Sea and possible new trade agreements between both countries. EFE


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