Home General Avoid Endangering Sailors In South China Sea: Philippines To China

Avoid Endangering Sailors In South China Sea: Philippines To China


The Philippine foreign ministry has called on China to refrain from actions that put sailors and vessels at risk in the South China Sea. The ministry emphasised that peace is unattainable if China’s actions do not align with its words in the disputed waters.

Incident And Response

The ministry condemned China’s “illegal and aggressive actions” during a routine resupply mission on June 17. This mission, according to the Philippine military, resulted in severe injury to a navy sailor and damage to Philippine vessels. A statement from the ministry highlighted the Philippines’ efforts to foster a peaceful environment for dialogue with China, stressing that such efforts are futile if China’s actions do not match its promises.

Incident Details

The incident involved a Philippine navy sailor sustaining serious injuries after what the military described as an “intentional high-speed ramming” by the Chinese coast guard. This action was intended to disrupt a resupply mission to troops stationed on the Second Thomas Shoal. The injured sailor, awarded the Wounded Personnel Medal by the military chief, lost a finger and is currently recovering in a hospital.

In contrast, China’s Coast Guard claimed that the Philippine vessel dangerously approached a Chinese ship, necessitating control measures such as “boarding inspections and forced evictions.”

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International Reactions

The international community has reacted strongly to the incident. The United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have condemned China’s actions. The Chinese embassy in Manila has yet to respond to the foreign ministry’s statement or the reported injury.

Historical And Diplomatic Context

China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, including the Second Thomas Shoal, where the Philippines has stationed the rusting warship BRP Sierra Madre since 1999 to assert its sovereignty. A small crew remains stationed on the ship.

In January, the Philippines and China agreed to enhance maritime communication and manage conflicts through friendly dialogue, particularly around the Second Thomas Shoal, known as Renai Reef in China and Ayungin in the Philippines. Despite this agreement, tensions remain high, with China repeatedly accusing Philippine vessels of illegally entering disputed waters. China’s expansive claims were invalidated by an international tribunal in 2016 but Beijing has continued to assert its territorial claims.

With inputs from Reuters