KazPost

Kazakhstan News
Tuesday, Jul 23, 2024

Chinese, Philippine vessels in ‘David and Goliath’ near-crash

Chinese, Philippine vessels in ‘David and Goliath’ near-crash

A Chinese coast guard ship cut off a Philippine patrol vessel carrying journalists in the disputed South China Sea, causing a near-collision, an AFP team on board another boat saw.
The near-miss off the Spratly Islands on Sunday was the latest in a steady string of incidents between China and the Philippines in the contested waterway.

AFP was one of several media outlets invited to join two Philippine Coast Guard boats on a 1,670-kilometer (1,040-mile) patrol of the South China Sea, visiting a dozen islands and reefs.

The BRP Malapascua and BRP Malabrigo were shadowed by Chinese navy and coast guard ships, and ordered to leave the waters several times during the six-day journey.

“We would have collided on the bow had I not cut the engine and thrown it in reverse,” Malapascua commanding officer Rodel Hernandez told reporters of Sunday’s close call, describing it as an encounter between “David and Goliath.”

The incident happened after the Philippine coast guard boats approached Second Thomas Shoal, where Philippine marines are stationed in a run-down navy ship grounded to assert Manila’s territorial claim in the waters.

As the 44-meter Malapascua neared the shoal, a Chinese Coast Guard vessel more than twice its size sailed into its path.

Hernandez said the Chinese ship came within 45 meters of his boat and only his quick actions avoided the steel-hulled vessels crashing into each other.

AFP watched the incident from the Malabrigo, which was less than a kilometer away.

A second Chinese coast guard vessel was seen nearby.

Hernandez said Chinese boats routinely blocked his and other Philippine coast guard ships during their patrols near the shoal.

However, Sunday was the “closest” he had seen vessels from the rival fleets come to a collision.

The Malapascua and Malabrigo had broadcast their intention to sail into the shoal to conduct a “site survey” and asked the Chinese vessels to “stay clear from our passage.”

But the Chinese coast guard responded over the radio that the Philippine boats were illegally sailing in China’s territorial waters, and told them to leave.

Second Thomas Shoal is about 200 kilometers from the major Philippine island of Palawan and more than a thousand kilometers from China’s nearest major landmass of Hainan island.

Over the past decade, China has ripped up thousands of hectares of reef in the Spratlys to create militarised islands with runways, ports and radar systems.

“If we ceased our watch they would soon take over Ayungin as well, so we need to be there always and challenge their harassment,” Hernandez said, using the Philippine name for the shoal.

The incident came just a day after Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos hosted Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang for talks in Manila aimed at defusing tensions in the contested waterway.

Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands, ignoring an international ruling that the assertion has no legal basis.

To back Beijing’s claim, hundreds of Chinese coast guard and other vessels patrol the waters, swarming reefs and harassing and attacking fishing and other boats.

On Saturday, the Philippine coast guard identified more than a hundred Chinese vessels parked at Whitsun Reef, which the Philippines claims as part of its exclusive economic zone.

The Philippine coast guard ordered the vessels to leave, but they were ignored.

Since taking office last June, Marcos has insisted he will not let China trample on the Philippines’ rights in the sea — in contrast to his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte who was reluctant to criticize Beijing.

Marcos has meanwhile gravitated toward the Philippines’ traditional ally, the United States, as he seeks to strengthen their defense ties.

This shift has alarmed China, which has accused Washington of trying to drive a wedge between Beijing and Manila.

Manila this month announced the locations of four more military bases it is allowing the United States to use on top of the five agreed on under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, or EDCA.

The four additional bases include sites near the South China Sea and another not far from self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory.

China has warned the expanded EDCA could endanger regional peace, and accused Washington of having a “zero-sum mentality.”

The largest-ever war games between the Philippines and the United States, which end Friday, have also drawn Beijing’s ire.

On Wednesday, Marcos watched US and Philippine troops fire rockets at a decommissioned warship representing an enemy vessel in the South China Sea, the first time the allies had held such an exercise.

The annual Balikatan maneuvers followed a three-day Chinese military exercise that simulated targeted strikes and a blockade around Taiwan.

Marcos said Monday he would discuss with US President Joe Biden at the White House next week the “need to tone down the rhetoric” over the South China Sea, Taiwan and North Korea.

“The discussion is heating up, some harsh words are being exchanged and we are worried,” Marcos told a Philippine broadcaster.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard has been trying to draw international attention to China’s activities in the South China Sea.

But with only three patrol vessels to monitor the vast waters, it is a challenge, said Commodore Jay Tarriela, the Philippine Coast Guard spokesman for the West Philippine Sea.

Out on the high seas, Malabrigo’s captain Commander Julio Colarina was defiant.

“The Philippines might be a small nation, but our country has a coast guard with a big heart that is willing to serve the Filipino people and an overwhelming loyalty and bravery to protect the republic,” Colarina said.
Newsletter

Related Articles

KazPost
0:00
0:00
Close
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
An Ominous Shift in Warfare: Western Powers Risk War Crimes and Violate International Norms with Cluster Bomb Supply to Ukraine
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
Corruption in the European Parliament - Business as usual
UK Crypto and Stablecoin Regulations Become Law as Royal Assent is Granted
Paris Suburb Grapples with Violence as Curfew Imposed: Saint-Denis Residents Express Dismay and Anger
A Delaware city wants to let businesses vote in its elections
Alef Aeronautics Achieves Historic Milestone with Flight Certification for World's First Flying Car
Google Blocked Access to Canadian News in Response to New Legislation
French Politicians Advocate for Pan-European Regulation on Social Media Influencers
×