Home China China Says It Has Expelled Philippines Coast Guard Ship From Scarborough Shoal

China Says It Has Expelled Philippines Coast Guard Ship From Scarborough Shoal

China’s coast guard stated on Chinese state media that it had “expelled” a Philippine coast guard ship and another vessel from waters adjacent to the Scarborough Shoal. The incident is the latest clash to occur over the submerged reef which the Philippines says is in its exclusive economic zone, but which China also claims as its own. Both nations have also traded accusations over aggressive manoeuvres there and the Philippines summoned China’s deputy chief of mission last month to protest what it called, “aggressive actions” by Chinese naval forces against a resupply mission for Filipino troops stationed on a South China Sea shoal.

The coast guard did not provide additional information about the incident.

The action comes after the Philippines refuted a statement from China asserting that the two nations had settled their intensifying maritime conflict in the South China Sea, labelling it as “propaganda.” Earlier, on April 18, a spokesperson from the Chinese embassy in Manila claimed that both countries had earlier this year agreed to a “new model” for managing tensions at the Second Thomas Shoal, though details were not provided.

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China and the Philippines previously said they would seek better communications and management around skirmishes in the vast South China Sea, but tensions have increased recently, especially after the Philippines forged stronger diplomatic and military ties with the United States. Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro said on Saturday his department was “not aware of, nor is it a party to, any internal agreement with China” since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr took office in 2022. Defence department officials have not spoken to any Chinese officials since last year, Teodoro said in a statement.

China asserts sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea, a key maritime route handling over $3 trillion in trade each year. This claim conflicts with those of the Philippines and four other countries. In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled that China’s claims lacked legal foundation, a verdict that Beijing has dismissed.

The Philippines had accused China of blocking manoeuvres and firing water cannons at its vessels to disrupt supply missions to Filipino soldiers stationed in a naval ship which Manila deliberately grounded in 1999 to bolster its maritime claims.