Military Tensions Between China And Philippines Expand

by Vern Evans

Tensions are continuing to rise as Manilla and Beijing trade accusations over a naval incident near the Spratly Islands. Chinese patrol boats used water cannons on Saturday to disrupt an attempt by the Philippine military to deliver supplies to a reef in a disputed part of the South China Sea.

This is that same location where the Philippine Navy intentionally grounded a tank landing ship over two decades ago. According to a report by RT, the incident occurred near the Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands archipelago, claimed by several countries including the China and Philippines. In 1999, Manila moved to strengthen its bid by permanently placing the BRP Sierra Madre – a military vessel that was originally built for the US Navy during World War II – at the location and turning it into a marine base.

This could be yet another provocation that will lead to an expansion of war on this planet. After being confronted by Chinese forces, the Philippines’ Unaizah May 4 supply ship “sustained heavy damages,” the military said. It released aerial footage of the stand-off, calling it an “attack” by China. A Philippine Coast Guard vessel later reached the boat “to provide assistance,” the statement said.

Beijing described the action as a lawful interception of foreign vessels infringing on Chinese waters. The clash was “entirely provoked by the Philippines,” Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qia stated on Sunday, claiming that Manila was acting “in bad faith”. He warned that “China will continue to take resolute measures” in case of further “provocations”. -RT

China now says that its relations with the Philippines are at a “crossroads.” The message was delivered by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong during a phone call with Philippine counterpart Theresa Lazaro amid worsening friction over altercations at the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, according to a report by Reuters. 

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