China's Unsafe Actions in the South China Sea Pose Risks to Maritime Safety, Says Philippines
Beijing Continues To "Assert Dominance" in South China Sea
In yet another incident of heightened tensions in the South China Sea, a Chinese navy vessel shadowed a Philippine resupply mission, endangering maritime safety.
The Philippine Armed Forces reported that a PLAN (People's Liberation Army Navy) vessel attempted to cross the bow of the Philippine vessel Benguet at a dangerously close distance of approximately 320 meters.
The encounter, which was captured on video and posted on Facebook, highlights the escalating tensions between China and the Philippines in the disputed waters.
Thitu Island, part of the Spratly Islands chain, has been occupied by the Philippines since the 1970s and is currently home to around 400 individuals. The risky maneuvers by the Chinese vessel not only violate international maritime laws but also pose a significant threat to maritime safety and the lives of those at sea, according to Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, the chief of Western Command.
"The dangerous actions of China must cease immediately, and they must adhere to international law," Vice Admiral Carlos emphasized in a statement. The Philippines has repeatedly called on China to act in a professional manner and respect the rights of other nations in the South China Sea.
China's aggressive actions in the region have been a cause for concern for the Philippines. Multiple encounters between Chinese and Philippine vessels have occurred in areas within Manila's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). These encounters have raised tensions and created potential for collisions that could endanger the lives of maritime personnel from both sides.
The Scarborough Shoal, which was seized by China from the Philippines in 2012, remains a contentious area. Last month, divers from the Philippine Coast Guard removed a floating barrier installed by the Chinese, further escalating tensions in the region.
General Romeo Brawner, the chief of staff associated with the Philippines Armed Forces, has urged China to discontinue its aggressive actions and dangerous maneuvers, emphasizing the risks of collision and the potential loss of lives. The Philippines has been actively maintaining its presence in the Second Thomas Shoal, where the Sierra Madre, a grounded Philippine vessel, serves as a makeshift outpost to assert its claim in the waters.
The international community has also weighed in on the dispute. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in 2016 that China's claim to the South China Sea had no legal basis.
Despite the ruling, Beijing has continued to assert its dominance in the region, causing concerns among neighboring countries.
China's unsafe actions in the South China Sea reportedly violate international law and pose significant risks to maritime safety. The Philippines has called on China to halt these dangerous maneuvers and behave in a professional manner. The tensions in the region continue to escalate, with both sides asserting their claims and interests.
The international community, including the Permanent Court of Arbitration, has recognized the lack of legal basis for China's claims.
However, a peaceful resolution to the dispute remains elusive, and the situation in the South China Sea continues to be closely monitored.