Chinese Ship Made ‘Dangerous’ Manoeuvres At Sea

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Credit: zhao chen/Unsplash

Chinese ship made ‘dangerous’ moves at sea, reveals a Taipei Times news source.

Chinese and Philippine ship collision

Chinese and Philippine ships came close to collision in the South China Sea on Sunday, in yet another sign of continued tensions over contested waters.

During the incident, which occurred in the vicinity of the Second Thomas Shoal (which Taiwan claims under the name Renai Shoal, 仁愛暗沙), two Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked Philippine patrol boats carrying journalists and “exhibited aggressive tactics,” the Philippine Coast Guard said in a statement yesterday.

One of the Chinese vessels carried out “dangerous maneuvers,” putting the ships 45m from each other, the statement said.

“This close proximity posed a significant threat to the safety and security of the Philippine vessel and its crew,” it said.

A week-long patrol in the strategic waterway

The incidents occurred as the Philippine Coast Guard undertook a week-long patrol in the strategic waterway, and on the heels of Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang (秦剛) visiting Manila last weekend to meet Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Carlito Galvez.

The two nations have been locked in a territorial dispute in the resource-rich waters, with Marcos’ government ramping up protests over Beijing’s actions. China has maintained that its presence in the area is legitimate, even after an international tribunal dashed its expansive sea claims in 2016.

The incident occurred as the US and the Philippines were conducting their largest joint military exercises, which ended yesterday.

Marcos’ government has been strengthening its alliance with Washington, recently expanding the US’ access to his nation’s military sites.

Marcos is expected to discuss defense deals with US President Joe Biden in a meeting next week.

The Philippine Coast Guard yesterday said that it conducted a seven-day patrol in the South China Sea through Monday upon Marcos’ directive.

It also reported a separate “confrontation” with a Chinese navy vessel near Pagasa Island (Jhongye Island, 中業島) on Friday last week. The Chinese ship reportedly told Philippine vessels over the radio to leave the area, and that failure to comply might “cause problem.”

The Philippines said that during the mission that began on Tuesday last week, it identified more than 100 “alleged Chinese maritime militia vessels, a People’s Liberation Army Navy corvette class and two China Coast Guard vessels” within the Philippines’ 322km exclusive economic zone.

Military-grade laser

In February, the Philippine Coast Guard said a Chinese counterpart ship had directed a “military-grade laser” at one of its ships supporting a resupply mission to troops in the disputed waterway, temporarily blinding its crew on the bridge.

Meanwhile, China yesterday said the “near collision” in the South China Sea was caused by the Philippines’ “premeditated and provocative action.”

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning (毛寧) said the Philippine boats had “intruded” without China’s permission.

“The Chinese coast guard vessel safeguarded China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime order, in accordance with the law, while taking timely measures to avoid the dangerous approach of Philippine vessels and to avoid a collision,” Mao said.

“It was a premeditated and provocative action for the Philippine vessel to barge into the waters of Renai Jiao with journalists on board. The aim was to deliberately find fault and take the opportunity to hype up the incident,” she added.

Mao said the crew of the Chinese vessel had acted “professionally and with restraint.”

 

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Source: Taipei Times