West Philippine Sea: China cries foul as PCG bolsters presence off Sabina Shoal

One of the Chinese Navy hovercraft during its military drills in the vicinity waters off Escoda (Sabina) Shoal. SCREENGRAB FROM PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD’S VIDEO CLIP
Published July 2, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — Escoda (Sabina) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea saw the presence of three more Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) ships, a move which was met with suspicion from Beijing, which repeatedly accused Manila of establishing a facility there.

Commodore Jay Tarriela, PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, said three 44-meter multi-role response vessels (MRRVs) joined BRP Teresa Magbanua on Monday. The BRP Teresa Magbanua has been deployed in Escoda Shoal since April following suspected reclamation activities in the area.

“It was truly an exceptional occurrence in the West Philippine Sea yesterday, as four PCG vessels were nestled together, creating a remarkable sight,” Tarriela said in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday.

Tarriela said the three MRRVs with hull numbers 4402, 4404, and 4409, passed off Escoda Shoal after successfully completing their resupply missions at various maritime features in West Philippine Sea before heading back to port.

However, Chinese state tabloid Global Times, citing on-site images, reported that aside from transporting fresh water, fuel, and food, one of PCG’s MRRV also attempted to deliver “suspected” building materials like cement to BRP Teresa Magbanua.

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SOURCE: www.inquirer.net

RELATED: China coast guard says Philippine ships’ presence at Sabina Shoal violated China’s sovereignty

Above, a frame grab from a video released on June 7, 2024 shows Philippine Coast Guard divers and marine scientists surveying part of Sabina shoal in the waters of South China Sea. (Philippine Coast Guard/AFP)
Published July 2, 2024
  • China Coast Guard says it followed and monitored the Philippine supply mission to Sabina Shoal

BEIJING: The China Coast Guard said the Philippines on Monday dispatched three vessels to resupply a Philippine coast guard vessel (9701) “illegally” stranded on a reef in the South China Sea that Beijing claimed as part of its territory.

In a statement on Tuesday, the China Coast Guard said it had followed and monitored the supply mission to Sabina Shoal, and that the vessels’ presence at the reef had “violated” China’s territory sovereignty and “undermined” peace and stability in the South China Sea.

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SOURCE: www.arabnews.com

RELATED: Chinese and Philippine officials meet for South China Sea talks after series of recent clashes

  • Manila ‘hoping for the best’ from meeting, which took place a day after the most recent confrontation between the two sides

Published July 2, 2024

Chinese and Philippine officials met to discuss the South China Sea on Tuesday, even as Beijing accused Manila of “undermining peace and stability” in the disputed waters.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo confirmed the talks – the first of their kind since January – were taking place in Manila and said he was “hoping for the best”, news portal rappler.com reported.

Last week he had said he hoped talks between the two sides would help manage tensions.

The two sides have been involved in a series of confrontations in the disputed waters this year.

These include an incident where Chinese coastguards intercepted a Philippine naval mission to resupply troops stationed on the Second Thomas Shoal on June 17, leading to clashes in which a Philippine sailor lost a thumb.

The Chinese intervention was the first since new rules came into force allowing them to carry out “boarding inspections” in waters China claims as its own.

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SOURCE: www.scmp.com

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Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
Contact Cherry at: cherrymtimbol@newscats.org or timbolcherrymay@gmail.com
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