MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Manila summoned Beijing’s ambassador and China lodged a complaint on Monday in a growing spat over two collisions between Philippine and Chinese vessels in the disputed South China Sea.
The countries have traded blame over Sunday’s incidents near Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands, with both sides filing diplomatic protests and releasing videos to support their accusations.
The two collisions happened during a routine Philippine resupply mission to Filipino troops stationed on a navy vessel that was grounded on the shoal to assert Manila’s territorial claims.
“We’re making full use of diplomatic processes… available to us. That includes summoning the Chinese ambassador (Huang Xilian), which we did this morning,” Philippine foreign ministry spokesperson Teresita Daza told reporters.
Daza said the ambassador was unavailable and was represented by his deputy chief of mission during the meeting.
Huang was last summoned to the foreign ministry in August after the China Coast Guard used water cannon on Philippine vessels near Second Thomas Shoal.
“Ayungin Shoal is part of our exclusive economic zone and continental shelf and we have sovereign rights and jurisdiction over it,” Daza said, using the Philippine name for the shoal.
A Chinese diplomat made “solemn representations… expressing strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to the trespassing” by Philippine vessels into the Ren’ai Reef area, China’s embassy in Manila said, using China’s name for the shoal.
The Philippines has accused a China Coast Guard vessel of “reckless manoeuvres” that led to a collision with a smaller wooden boat contracted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to deliver provisions to troops on the BRP Sierra Madre.
China said the “slight collision” happened after the resupply boat ignored “multiple warnings and deliberately passed through law enforcement in an unprofessional and dangerous manner”, state broadcaster CCTV reported Sunday, citing the foreign ministry.
In another incident, a Philippine coastguard vessel escorting the resupply mission was “bumped” by what Manila has described as a “Chinese Maritime Militia vessel”.
China, however, accused the Philippine boat of “deliberately” stirring up trouble by reversing in a “premeditated manner” into a Chinese fishing vessel.
‘Arbitral ruling is binding’
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars in trade passes annually, and has ignored a 2016 international ruling that its assertion has no legal basis.
Second Thomas Shoal is about 200 kilometres (124 miles) from the western Philippine island of Palawan, and more than 1,000 kilometres from China’s nearest major landmass, Hainan island.
As China moves ever more confidently to assert its claims to the waters, officials and experts have warned of the potential for collisions.
Despite the challenges, the Philippines would “continue to do what is necessary” to supply its troops at Second Thomas Shoal with provisions, said Jonathan Malaya, assistant director general of the National Security Council.
“This is the Philippines implementing the 2016 arbitral ruling,” Malaya told reporters Monday.
“The arbitral ruling is binding not only to the Philippines but also to China.”
The Philippine Navy deliberately grounded the World War II-era BRP Sierra Madre on Second Thomas Shoal in 1999 to check China’s advance in the waters.
The troops stationed on the crumbling ship depend on regular supply deliveries.
The Philippines has outposts on nine reefs and islands in the Spratlys, including Second Thomas Shoal.
Carousell halts sale of Taylor Swift concert tickets to combat scams
MHA: Singaporean influencers issued advisories over Gaza conflict content
Samlit executives investigated for suspected fraudulent business operations
Singapore Airshow faces criticism over recurring traffic and transportation issues
1M65 founder est. S$100k loss in interest from CPF Special Account closure for aged 55+
Singapore authorities heighten vigilance as Zika signals persist in Boon Lay Place
SDP Chief Dr Chee mulls legal challenge against govt’s stance amid POFMA spree
SSG and NEA defend ‘washroom cleaning’ course on SkillsFuture amid online bewilderment
SAESL’s US$180M investment to bring 500 job opportunities in new aerospace facilities
UOB junior staff to get a one-off extra month’s bonus to cope with rising living costs
Love Aid Singapore raises nearly S$750,000 for Gaza aid initiative
DPM Wong defends SA closure for 55+, netizens demand autonomy for their own CPF savings
Singapore2 weeks ago
PM Lee encourages more births in the year of the dragon amid declining fertility rates
Singapore2 weeks ago
Singapore surpasses nursing recruitment target in 2023 amidst high attrition rates
Featured1 week ago
PA surveys community & govt confidence amid pending general election
Comments1 week ago
PAP Marcus Loh accuses WP’s MP of alleged dishonesty on debate about reserves
Civil Society1 week ago
Singaporeans stand firm in support for Palestine amidst police scrutiny
Civil Society7 days ago
At least 9 individuals summoned by police over Palestine solidarity activities on 2 Feb
Community1 week ago
Connectivity struggles in Tengah town prompt online user discussion
Singapore4 days ago
Kenneth Jeyaretnam issued 6th POFMA direction over Ridout Road saga