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The Chinese coast guard ships allegedly crossed the bow of the Philippine vessel twice during the encounter.
According to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), at least four Chinese coast guard ships shadowed a Philippine ship on over 40 occasions in an attempt to block it from patrolling near the Scarborough Shoal last week.
The PCG deployed the BRP Teresa Magbanua for a nine-day maritime patrol around the Scarborough Shoal on Feb. 1 to assist and distribute food to 100 Filipino fishermen operating in the area.
The Chinese ships engaged in “dangerous and blocking maneuvers” and crossed the bow of the PCG vessel twice during the encounter. The PCG also spotted four Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM) vessels.
“Nevertheless, the PCG vessel professionally engaged both the CCG and CMM vessels through radio, reiterating the clear and principled position of the Philippines in accordance with international law,” it stated.
Collin Koh, a senior fellow at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, refuted the CCP’s claims, saying that the Chinese coast guard ships’ actions violated the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Scarborough Shoal is an atoll in the South China Sea, strategically located along crucial international waterways. Manila refers to it as “Bajo de Masinloc,” while Beijing calls it “Huangyan Island.”
Mr. Romualdez warned that if anything happens in their area of the South China Sea, it’s like the beginning of another world war.
He also mentioned that Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. tried to discuss the issue with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the sidelines of the APEC summit last month, but the CCP leader appeared unwilling to engage in dialogue about the issue.
The South China Sea is claimed in part by several countries and is a vital maritime trade route worth over $3 trillion annually.
The ruling by an international tribunal in The Hague in 2016 in favor of legal action taken by the Philippines didn’t see China’s communist regime change its behavior, with its vessels repeatedly intruding into the Philippines’ maritime zones.
Jon Sun and Michael Zhuang contributed to this report.