Philippines tells China to ‘back off’ after South China Sea clash

Nov 18, 2021: In the most recent incident in the long standing territorial dispute over the South China Sea, 3 ships from the Chinese coastguard blocked and fired water cannons on two Philippines supply boats within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the disputed South China Sea, the Philippines has said.

Philippines Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin said the incident took place near Ayungin Shoal on November 16 and the Philippine vessels, which were taking food supplies to military personnel stationed nearby, were forced to abandon the mission. No injuries were reported.

“The acts of the Chinese coast guard vessels are illegal,” Locsin said in a statement shared on social media by the Foreign Ministry. “China has no law enforcement rights in and around these areas. They must take heed and back off.”

China claims almost the entire South China Sea on the basis of its so-called Nine Dashline, which was ruled without merit five years ago by an international court. Beijing has ignored the order, which the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan also claimed, and started building artificial islands and deploying its navy, coast guard and fleet of fishing ships in the disputed sea.

Locsin accused China of failing to contain itself and said it had conveyed Manila’s “anger, condemnation and protest” to the Chinese ambassador over the incident.

Ayungin Shoal is part of the Spratly Islands, known as the Kalayaan Islands in the Philippines. It lies within the Philippines EEZ, which stretches 370km (200 nautical miles) from its coast.

Earlier this year, the Philippines complained about the weeks-long presence of dozens of vessels from China’s so-called ‘maritime militia’ at Whisun Reef, which lies about 320 kilometres west of Palawan Island within its EEZ.

In 2012, China forcibly took control of Scarborough Shoal, which lies 229km west of the Philippine island of Luzon.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who has sought closer ties with China, has been criticized for failing to take a hard line on the country’s activities in the South China Sea. On Thursday, he backed the Foreign Ministry’s immediate response.

“We will continue to assert our sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over our territory,” acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said in a statement.

Stay tuned to BaaghiTV for latest news and Updates!

China surpasses US in becoming richest country in the world

Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!