BEIJING — China’s coast guard claimed Tuesday to have chased a Philippine navy ship from a disputed shoal within the South China Sea as tensions between the 2 nations over wealthy fishing areas escalate.
Coast guard spokesman Gan Yu mentioned the Philippine ship had sailed into waters subsequent to the Scarborough Shoal, which China calls Huangyan Island, and ignored “a number of calls” to show again.
“The Chinese language coast guard took vital measures to expel the Philippine ship in accordance with the legislation, reminiscent of following it and forcing it out and controlling its route,” Gan mentioned.
In Manila, the Philippines’ navy chief of employees, Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., mentioned authorities had been nonetheless wanting into the alleged incident however suppose it was extra probably “propaganda from the Chinese language” than an precise confrontation.
“If we ever have a ship there, we won’t conform to be pushed away (from our) unique financial zone,” Brawner informed reporters. “It is our proper to make it possible for our fishermen can fish in our financial zone.”
The Scarborough Shoal lies inside the Philippines’ unique financial zone, simply west of the nation’s important Luzon Island. It has been occupied by China since 2012 as a part of an Beijing’s push to put declare to virtually all the South China Sea, which has additionally sparked disputes with Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
The conflicts have lengthy been thought to be a possible Asian flash level and a fragile fault line within the United States-China rivalry within the area.
Washington has no claims of its personal, however U.S. Navy ships and fighter jets have carried out patrols for many years to problem China’s expansive claims and promote freedom of navigation within the necessary waterway.
Final month, China’s coast guard laid down a 300-meter (980-foot) -long floating barrier to dam the doorway to the Scarborough Shoal lagoon to stop Filipino boats from coming into.
A couple of days later, the Philippine coast guard, appearing on orders immediately from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., covertly eliminated the barrier, infuriating China.
Gan, the spokesman for China’s coast guard, insisted that “China has indeniable sovereignty over Huangyan Island and its adjoining waters,” and that chasing away the Philippine ship on Tuesday was “authentic and authorized.”
“The Philippines’ actions infringe on China’s sovereignty and critically violate worldwide legislation and primary norms of worldwide relations,” he mentioned. “We urge the Philippines to right away cease its infringement.”
Underneath Marcos, who took workplace final yr, the Philippines has intensified efforts to push again in opposition to China’s more and more assertive actions.
Following the incident with the barrier, Philippine navy authorities mentioned there was a priority that the Chinese language coast guard could try to put in an analogous floating blockade on the entrance to the Second Thomas Shoal. It’s a number of hundred kilometers (miles) southwest of the Scarborough Shoal and is occupied by a small Philippine navy contingent on a long-grounded warship however has been surrounded by Chinese language coast guard ships.
Final week a Chinese language coast guard ship got here inside a meter (3 toes) of colliding with a Philippine patrol ship off the Second Thomas Shoal, prompting robust condemnation from Manila.
On Tuesday, the Philippines mentioned a senior diplomat had witnessed the incident from aboard a coast guard ship and that his “firsthand info will enable him to successfully convey our issues to China.”
Jim Gomez in Manila contributed to this story