Manila wants to ‘bare’ Chinese ships.
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines: Chinese ships remain an intimidating presence around a Philippine-controlled shoal in the embattled Spratly Islands chain, where a recent laser targeting incident has become a new source of tension between the two countries.
During an air visit to the area earlier this week arranged by the Philippine Coast Guard, reporters including from Kyodo News witnessed the Philippines’ sole outpost at Ayungin Shoal in the Spratly Islands run down in contrast to the teeming number of Chinese Coast Guard vessels was surrounding the swarm.
The rare voyage came after a Coast Guard vessel of the Southeast Asian country was engulfed by a “military laser” from a Chinese coast guard vessel near the Ayungin Shoal on February 6.
The incident quickly escalated into a diplomatic row, with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. immediately summoning the Chinese ambassador and protesting Beijing’s aggressive activities in the resource-rich South China Sea.
The Philippines, which has described the Chinese Coast Guard’s actions as a “dangerous manoeuvre”, is also changing course in its dealings with China and soliciting support from other countries.
In the wake of the laser incident, the United States, Australia and Japan have expressed concern over Beijing’s behavior as well as support for the 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that invalidated Beijing’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea.
Manila will “expose” China’s behavior in the South China Sea from now on, Jay Tarriela, the Philippine Coast Guard’s maritime security adviser, told Kyodo News.
“We need the international community to know (what’s going on),” he said.
A photo taken on February 6 shows a Chinese Coast Guard vessel shining a “military laser light” on a Philippine Coast Guard boat nearly 20 kilometers from Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea. (Photo: Philippine Coast Guard via AFP)
Source: Crypto News Deutsch