The Philippine Coast Guard confirmed on Friday (April 28) that the Guard vessel encountered a Chinese Coast Guard ship in the South China Sea last weekend, and that a Chinese vessel “performed dangerous maneuvers” at a close range of only about 45 meters from the Philippine vessel. “, and two other Chinese ships carried out “offensive actions”, and a confrontation occurred between the two sides. It was the latest in a string of tense maritime encounters between the Philippines and China in the waters.
The incident occurred during a week-long cruise by the Philippine Coast Guard. Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang visited the Philippines the day before the incident, that is, last Saturday, and held talks with the Philippine foreign minister and Philippine President Marcos.
Dangerous situation again in the South China Sea: Chinese Coast Guard ship blocks Philippine Coast Guard ship and almost collides
Qin Gang’s visit this time is in the context of intensified confrontation between the United States and China. Manila is moving closer to the United States and has set aside more islands for the use of the US military. Some of these islands are only a few hundred kilometers away from Taiwan. Qin Gang tried to persuade the Philippines not to side with the United States in the confrontation between the United States and China.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea, including Second Thomas Reef (Ren’ai Reef) and Minzhu Reef (Huangyan Island) off the coast of the Philippines. The Philippines has repeatedly asked China to stop its “aggressive activities” in the waters.
The Philippine Coast Guard said that it has confirmed that more than 100 so-called “Chinese maritime militia ships, a Chinese navy frigate and two Chinese coast guard ships” entered the Philippines between April 18 and 24. district.
The Philippine Coast Guard said a Chinese vessel was “performing dangerous maneuvers” at a close range of only about 45 meters from a Philippine vessel. Two other Chinese vessels carried out “offensive maneuvers” that “posed a serious threat” to the safety of the Philippine vessel and its crew.
According to an Associated Press reporter who was on board the Philippine Coast Guard ship at the time, the Philippine Coast Guard ship received a radio warning from China in Chinese and English, asking the Philippine ships on patrol to leave the waters.
“If you ignore our warning, we will take necessary measures against you according to law, and you will bear all the consequences,” a Chinese coast guard said on the radio.
When two Philippine patrol boats sailed into the shallows near Second Thomas Reef to conduct some underwater surveys, the Chinese Coast Guard kept radioing the two boats to leave. The second Thomas Reef is about 194 kilometers away from Palawan Province, Philippines.
Then a Chinese Coast Guard ship came along with the two Philippine patrol boats. When the Philippine patrol ship “Malapas” turned its head and sailed towards the entrance of the Second Thomas Reef, the Chinese coast guard ship suddenly turned and blocked the way. According to Colonel Rodel Hernandez, the captain of the Malapas, the bow of the Malapas is only 36 to 46 meters away from the Chinese Coast Guard ship. .
At this critical juncture, the Philippine patrol boat backed up suddenly, and then cut off the engine, bringing the boat to a complete stop, thus avoiding a disaster that seemed inevitable.
China’s foreign ministry said on Friday that the Chinese coast guard ship was acting to “defend sovereignty” after a Philippine vessel “intruded” into Chinese waters. Reuters said the Chinese embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In February, the Philippine Coast Guard said a Chinese coast guard ship had irradiated a Philippine supply ship with a “military-grade laser” in disputed waters, temporarily blinding those on board.