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Misleading, Says Philippines As China Accuses It Of Causing Collision Of Ships In South China Sea


A Philippine supply ship and a Chinese Coast Guard vessel have collided near the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, says China. The Chinese Coast Guard claimed the incident was due to the Philippine ship illegally entering the area and approaching dangerously. Manila’s military dismissed these claims as “deceptive and misleading”.

Incident Details

According to the Chinese Coast Guard, the Philippine transport and replenishment ship ignored repeated warnings. They stated that the Philippine vessel deliberately and dangerously approached the Chinese ship in an unprofessional manner, causing a collision. The statement did not mention any injuries or damage to the vessels.

“We will not dignify the deceptive and misleading claims of the China Coast Guard (CCG),” said Xerxes Trinidad, chief of the Philippine armed forces’ public affairs office. He emphasized that the continued aggressive actions of the CCG are escalating regional tensions. The Philippine military highlighted the illegal presence and actions of Chinese vessels within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as the main issue.

Ongoing Tensions

Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Jay Tarriela stated that the agency was not involved in this particular operation and therefore could not provide details. For months, China and the Philippines have exchanged accusations over dangerous manoeuvres and collisions at the Second Thomas Shoal. This atoll is within the Philippines’ EEZ, and Filipino soldiers live aboard an aging warship deliberately grounded to assert Manila’s maritime claims.

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China asserts sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, which is a crucial route for over $3 trillion of annual ship-borne commerce. This claim overlaps with parts of the sea claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.

Legal And Policy Changes

China has previously warned the Philippines about intrusions into its claimed territorial waters. New rules, effective June 15, 2021, allow the Chinese Coast Guard to use lethal force against foreign ships in waters it claims. These rules also permit the coast guard to detain suspected trespassers for up to 60 days without trial.

With inputs from Reuters