Philippines Accuses Chinese Coast Guard of Raising Tensions in South China Sea

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.01 - 2024 8:23 AM CET

Stockphoto / Photo: WIki Commons
Stockphoto / Photo: WIki Commons
The Philippines has accused China's coast guard of escalating tensions in the South China Sea.

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The Philippines has accused China's coast guard of escalating tensions in the South China Sea.

This accusation came after a Philippine coast guard ship and a fisheries vessel were damaged by water cannons fired by Chinese vessels near the disputed Scarborough Shoal.

According to Commodore Jay Tarriela, a Philippine coast guard spokesperson, this is the first time the Chinese coast guard has directly used water cannons against a Philippine vessel.

This development was reported by Reuters.

Increasing Aggression

Commodore Tarriela criticized China's actions during a briefing, stating, "It just goes to show that Goliath is becoming more Goliath. They don't hesitate to use brute force to violate international law."

He noted that while China's actions do not constitute an armed attack, the intensity of the water cannons has been increased, causing damage to Philippine ships.

This is not the first instance of such aggression; water cannons have previously been used against Philippine navy-crewed civilian supply vessels in the region.

Disputed Territory

No country holds sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal, a key fishing area within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and close to major shipping lanes. It has been a continual point of contention between China and the Philippines.

Despite no country having sovereignty over the shoal, China claims it as Huangyan Dao and has called for the Philippines to "stop making infringements and provocations at once and not to challenge China’s resolve to defend our sovereignty."

The situation is further complicated by the mutual defense treaty between the Philippines and the United States, which includes a pledge from Washington to defend the Philippines against an armed attack in the region.

China's extensive claims over the South China Sea, which see more than $3 trillion in ship-borne trade annually, are contested not only by the Philippines but also by Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.

In 2016, an international tribunal ruled that China's claims had no legal basis, a decision that Beijing has since rejected.

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