Philippines accuses China of dangerous manoeuvres near Scarborough Shoal

A Filipino fisheman rows a boat during a trip near the disputed Scarborough Shoal, in Masinloc, Zambales province, Philippines, July 18, 2022. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
Published February 11, 2024
MANILA, Feb 11 (Reuters) – The Philippines’ coast guard (PCG) on Sunday accused China of “dangerous and blocking” manoeuvres while its vessel patrolled near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea this month.
Manila’s coast guard said in a statement that on a nine-day patrol near the shoal by its 97-metre (318-foot) vessel BRP Teresa Magbanua, four Chinese coast guard (CCG) vessels had shadowed the boat more than 40 times.
Four Chinese maritime militia vessels were also present near the shoal, the PCG said.
Located within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Scarborough shoal is also claimed by China, making it one of Asia’s most contested maritime features and a flashpoint for flare-ups.
The PCG said its vessel was in the area to protect Filipino fishermen “from further harassment” in their traditional fishing ground.
“The CCG vessels performed dangerous and blocking manoeuvres at sea against BRP Teresa Magbanua four times, with the CCG vessels crossing the bow of the PCG vessel twice,” it said, adding that the Chinese vessels had “recklessly” disregarded international rules on preventing collisions at sea.


RELATED: PCG patrol in Bajo de Masinloc detects 8 Chinese vessels

This frame grab from handout video taken on Feb. 8, 2024 and released by the Philippine Coast guard (PCG) on February 11, shows a Chinese coast guard vessel (front R) blocking and sailing past Philippine coast guard ship BRP Teresa Magbanua (back L) near Scarborough Shoal, in the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine Coast Guard on February 11 accused Chinese vessels of “dangerous” manoeuvres during a nine-day patrol near a reef off the coast of the Southeast Asian country.
Published February 11, 2024

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 3:12 p.m.) — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported Sunday that it had monitored the presence of eight Chinese vessels during a patrol earlier this month in Bajo de Masinloc in the West Philippine Sea.

Throughout its nine-day patrol in Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Scarborough Shoal, PCG’s BRP Teresa Magbanua detected the presence of four China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels.

According to the Coast Guard, the CCG vessels shadowed BRP Teresa Magbanua “on more than 40 occasions,” coming as close as 176 meters.

“The CCG vessels performed dangerous and blocking maneuvers at sea against BRP Teresa Magbanua four times, with the CCG vessels crossing the bow of the PCG vessel twice,” PCG said.

It also observed four Chinese maritime militia boats during its patrol.

“BRP Teresa Magbanua professionally engaged the Chinese maritime ships through radio, reiterating the clear and principled position of the Philippines in accordance with international law,” the PCG said.



RELATED: DND warns China for ‘provocative rhetoric’

Department of National Defense (DND) Sec. Gilberto Teodoro Jr. (below, third from right) visits the northern frontier’s maritime defense outpost in Mavulis Island in Itbayat, Batanes on Feb. 6, 2024. (Photo by Armed Forces of the Philippines)
Published February 11, 2024

The Department of National Defense (DND) has cautioned China for issuing “provocative rhetoric” related to efforts by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to increase its presence in Batanes, the country’s northernmost province that is less than 200 kilometers from Taiwan.

DND spokesperson Director Arsenio Andolong said China has no right to dictate what the Philippines intends to do in its own backyard since it is an independent country.

“The Defense Department stresses that Batanes is Philippine territory and China has no business warning the Philippines about what it does within its territory,” Andolong said on Saturday, Feb. 10.

“China should refrain from engaging in provocative rhetoric and activities if it truly wants to earn the widespread trust and respect that it is trying so hard to gain but has, so far, been unable to,” he added.

Andolong further stressed that part of the mandate of the DND is to secure the sovereignty of the state and integrity of the national territory as enshrined in the Philippine Constitution.




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