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World China Accused of 'Harassment' in South China Sea After Vowing to Back Down

18:01  24 november  2021
18:01  24 november  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

China coast guard blocks Philippine boats in disputed sea

  China coast guard blocks Philippine boats in disputed sea MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Chinese coast guard ships blocked and used water cannons on two Philippine supply boats heading to a disputed shoal occupied by Filipino marines in the South China Sea, provoking an angry protest to China and a warning from the Philippine government that its vessels are covered under a mutual defense treaty with the United States, Manila’s top diplomat said Thursday. Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said no one was hurt in the incident in the disputed waters on Tuesday, but the two supply ships had to abort their mission to provide food supplies to Filipino forces occupying the Second Thomas Shoal, which lies off western Palawa

The Philippines has accused China of continued "harassment" in the South China Sea, three days after Beijing promised not to interfere with attempts to resupply a Philippine-controlled shoal in the Spratly Islands.

A China Coast Guard ship (bottom) and a Philippine supply boat engage in a standoff as the Philippine boat attempts to reach Second Thomas Shoal, a remote South China Sea reef claimed by both countries, on March 29, 2014. © JAY DIRECTO/AFP via Getty Images A China Coast Guard ship (bottom) and a Philippine supply boat engage in a standoff as the Philippine boat attempts to reach Second Thomas Shoal, a remote South China Sea reef claimed by both countries, on March 29, 2014.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Wednesday that a small contingent of Philippine Marines was successfully resupplied with food and other provisions on November 23.

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Vice Adm. Ramil Roberto Enriquez, who heads the Philippines' Western Command, told the Inquirer that there was "no untoward incident" as two wooden-hulled boats reached Second Thomas Shoal at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

However, Lorenzana told the paper that a China Coast Guard vessel sent a three-man crew in a rubber dinghy to take photos and videos while the supplies were being unloaded at BRP Sierra Madre—a World War II-era naval vessel that was deliberately grounded on the reef to serve as a Philippine outpost in 1999.

"I have communicated to the Chinese ambassador that we consider these acts as a form of intimidation and harassment," Lorenzana was quoted as saying.

Earlier in the week, Manila's defense chief said China's top envoy, Huang Xilian, had assured him on Sunday that Chinese ships "will not interfere."

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He also noted, with caution: "We will see if they are true to their word as our Navy will proceed with the resupply this week."

The pledge not to interfere came amid several days of communication following a standoff near the South China Sea feature Manila calls Ayungin Shoal. On November 16, three Chinese coast guard ships blockaded Philippine supply boats and fired upon the smaller vessels with a water cannon, forcing the mission to be aborted.

It led Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. to file a stern diplomatic protest two days later while also invoking the Philippines-United States Mutual Defense Treaty, which covers attacks on Philippine vessels in the contested South China Sea.

The U.S. State Department backed the Philippines on Friday by reaffirm its treaty commitments.

Second Thomas Shoal, which China calls Ren'ai Jiao, is located in the West Philippine Sea—Manila's term for the eastern portion of the South China Sea that falls within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.

China Says it Will Not 'Bully The Small' Amid Disputes in South China Sea

  China Says it Will Not 'Bully The Small' Amid Disputes in South China Sea The remarks, delivered at the ASEAN-China special summit, come after an alleged incident involving Philippine cargo ships in the South China Sea.Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a speech at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Monday. Members of the organization were commemorating the 30th anniversary of China and the group finalizing relations with each other.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea by asserting sovereignty over every single feature in the waters inside its so-called "nine-dash line."

A 2016 arbitration ruling in The Hague declared China's extensive maritime claims invalid, but Beijing rejected the verdict of Philippines v. China in full.

The government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has denied failing to consistently safeguard Manila's territorial rights against China, although Duterte himself has hinted at the futile nature of standing up to Beijing.

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  • China Backs Down in South China Sea After U.S., Philippines Warnings

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