Beijing Accuses Philippines of Threatening Chinese Coast Guard Vessel

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jun.02 - 2024 11:26 AM CET

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Beijing and Manila clash in the South China Sea over alleged armed threats.

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Tensions between Beijing and Manila have escalated again.

Chinese state media claims that Filipino crew members aboard a vessel near the disputed Second Thomas Shoal aimed their weapons at a Chinese Coast Guard ship, sparking a new diplomatic spat.

Guns Drawn in the South China Sea

According to China Central Television (CCTV), at least two crew members on the Filipino vessel were seen holding firearms and pointing them at the Chinese Coast Guard crew.

A brief, 29-second video clip shared on social media shows a masked individual holding what appears to be a weapon, though the footage is somewhat unclear.

This incident allegedly took place during a resupply mission for Filipino troops stationed on a deliberately beached warship at the shoal, a move made by Manila in 1999 to assert its territorial claims in the area.

Historical Tensions Over Maritime Claims

China's sweeping claims over the South China Sea include territories also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.

The South China Sea is a crucial maritime route with over $3 trillion in goods passing through annually. However, in 2016, the International Court of Arbitration ruled that China's claims had no legal basis, a decision that Beijing has repeatedly dismissed.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., in a speech on Friday, implicitly criticized Beijing's actions in the South China Sea. He condemned what he described as "illegal and aggressive actions" that undermine the vision of Southeast Asian nations for peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.

Over the past year, confrontations between the Philippines and China have become more frequent. The Chinese Coast Guard has been accused of using water cannons against Filipino vessels, and there have been reports of deliberate collisions involving Chinese ships and boats flying the Filipino flag.

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