China Coast Guard Expels Philippine Vessel Near Huangyan Island in South China Sea

China asserts that it will not tolerate any attempts by the Philippines to gain control of Huangyan Island.
  • bureau
  • 04:41 AM, February 12, 2024
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China Coast Guard Expels Philippine Vessel Near Huangyan Island in South China Sea
Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal) in the South China Sea @via Philippine media

The China Coast Guard (CCG) announced on Sunday that it had expelled a Philippine Coast Guard vessel, identified as 9701, that had allegedly intruded into waters adjacent to Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal) in the South China Sea multiple times from February 2 to 9.

In 2012, Beijing took control of Scarborough Shoal within the Philippines' EEZ after a months-long standoff involving paramilitary ships.

Gan Yu, spokesperson for the CCG, stated that despite warning calls, the Philippine vessel continued to intrude into the area, prompting the CCG to take measures to control its course and forcefully drive it away in a professional manner and in accordance with norms.

Huangyan Island, claimed by China, is situated in the South China Sea, and the CCG reiterated China's indisputable sovereignty over the island and its adjacent waters. The CCG emphasized its commitment to carrying out law enforcement activities in waters under China's jurisdiction and safeguarding national sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

Chinese experts have pointed out that the “Philippines' actions during the Chinese Lunar New Year period are intentional provocations that could negatively impact mutual trust and disrupt the political atmosphere between the two nations.”

Ding Duo, deputy director of the Institute of Maritime Law and Policy at the China Institute for South China Sea Studies, stated that the Philippines' move would not bring any benefits and could affect the perception of Chinese people toward the Philippines.

According to Ding, the Philippines' deliberate provocations are part of its adjusted South China Sea and China policies since a new administration came to power. This has strained the mutual understanding between the two sides in terms of maritime operations, as highlighted during the Eighth Meeting of the China-Philippines Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea in January.

The Philippines has been accused of manipulating public opinion by accusing Chinese vessels of "dangerous" maneuvers on the same day as the CCG announcement. Experts view this as a strategy to create a negative narrative, similar to previous accusations of China bullying.

The recent incident follows a series of escalating tensions, including a Philippine vessel “intruding” into the waters near Huangyan Island in September 2023 and a dangerous collision with a CCG ship in December of the same year.

Chen Xiangmiao, director of the World Navy Research Center at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, emphasized that China is determined to safeguard its territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea. Measures taken by China include forceful actions to protect its rights and efforts to encourage the Philippines to resolve maritime disputes through negotiation and consultation.

China's red lines, according to Chen, include prohibiting any entry into the lagoon of Huangyan Island and preventing a repeat of the 2012 Huangyan Island incident, where the Philippines sent a warship to harass Chinese fishing vessels sheltering from bad weather in the area.

China asserts that it will not tolerate any attempts by the Philippines to gain control of Huangyan Island.

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