China accused by US of harassing Philippine boats in South China Sea

China accused by US of harassing Philippine boats in South China Sea

The Chinese flag blows in the wind. Credit: Ermell/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

The US has accused China of harassing Philippine vessels saying they will stand with the Philippines.

Yesterday, April 29, a statement by the US State Department, as reported by Reuters said: “We call upon Beijing to desist from its provocative and unsafe conduct,” as they called on China to stop the harassment of Philippine boats or face a military response.

TRT World Now reported on Twitter: ‘US State Department calls on Beijing to desist from its ‘provocative’ and ‘unsafe’ conduct in the South China Sea”.

The Philippines accused China of aggressive tactics, as the Chinese coast guard was reported to have blocked a Philippine patrol vessel in the South China Sea, almost causing a collision.

In an ongoing dispute over the ownership of the South China Sea, China claims almost the entirety, including some areas partially claimed by the Philippines. With further ownership claims by Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan, there is certainly some contest.

The area where the run-in took place is known as the Second Thomas Shoal, around the Spratly Islands, claimed by both the Philippines and China. This area has been the site of previous altercations between the two countries and remains hotly contested.

Despite China’s excessive claims to ownership of almost the entire South China Sea, an international arbitral ruling in 2016 dismissed that line as having no legal basis. Yet reports suggest that China has been seen to frequently follow Philippine boats around the Spratleys and threaten them with ‘consequences’.

China, who have chosen to ignore the 2016 ruling, continue to say that the Philippines are intruding on Chinese waters, and have been accused of various acts of defiance including pointing lasers at Filipino supply vessels.

The State Department, in their statement, said Washington: “stands with our Philippine allies in upholding the rules-based international maritime order.”

With China unlikely to back down, we will see over the coming days how this situation develops.

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Written by

David Laycock

Dave Laycock has always written. Poems, songs, essays, academic papers as well as newspaper articles; the written word has always held a great fascination for him and he is never happier than when being creative. From a musical background, Dave has travelled the world performing and also examining for a British music exam board. He also writes, produces and performs and records music. All this aside, he is currently fully focussed on his journalism and can’t wait to share more stories from around the world and beyond.