Filipino issues harsh statement to China amid heightened tensions in the South China Sea

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s aide criticizes China on April 5 for mooring hundreds of vessels in the conflicting South China Sea region for a month, which could lead to “undesirable hostilities.” did.

Duterte is usually reluctant to confront China. He offended Filipinos by refusing to pressure China to respect the 2016 groundbreaking arbitral award that clarified the Philippine sovereignty in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). ..

On Monday, Duterte’s lawyer Salvador Panero called the long-term existence of Chinese boats a “territorial invasion” and told the Beijing administration: “

Duterte spokesman Harry Roque reiterated his view later in the day, saying at a press conference:

The situation in the South China Sea is harsh, with more than 250 Chinese fishing vessels accommodating militias disguised as sailors, moored in six regions, and believed to have Chinese, US, Australian, Canadian, and Japanese warships sailing nearby. Has been done.

Philippines South China Sea
On March 7, 2021, some of the 220 Chinese vessels can be seen moored at the Whitson Reef in the South China Sea. (Philippine Coast Guard / National Task Force-West Philippine Sea via AP)


China’s think tank USS Theodore Roosevelt was observed to have invaded the South China Sea on April 4, along with the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Russell and the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, according to the strategic situation in the South China Sea. I did. Probing Initiative (SCSPI).

Australian Anzac-class frigate HMAS Anzac, Canadian Halifax-class frigate HMCS Calgary, and Japanese destroyer Akira were also found navigating the disputed sea, SCSPI reported on April 1. ..

The Philippine government said Wednesday that about 250 Chinese fishing boats and at least four naval vessels were moored side by side in six conflict areas in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea.

The ship has been seen on the island since March 7th. They first anchored alongside the Whitson Reef. More than 200 people have moved to other areas after the Philippine government blamed them in late March.

On April 4, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement that 44 Chinese fishing vessels were still moored at the cattle reef.

Epoch Times Photo
The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) will operate in the Philippine Sea on May 21, 2020. (Photo of the US Navy by mass communication specialist Seaman Kailian Nagenie)


The presence of Chinese ships offended the Philippines. The Manila government has criticized the Beijing administration in the past few weeks.

“The continued presence of Chinese maritime militia in the region indicates an intention to further occupy the West Philippine Sea (the name of the South China Sea in the Philippines),” Lorenzana said in a statement on Sunday.

“They did this [occupy disputed areas] Previously, Panatag Shawl or Bahode Machine Rock and Pangani Van Reef bravely violated the sovereignty and sovereignty of the Philippines under international law, “Lorenzana added.

The Chinese embassy in Manila claimed on March 22 that boats were protected from rough seas, and Chinese fishermen have been fishing on the Whit Sun Reef for many years.

On April 5, the Philippine Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied that cattle reefs were traditional Chinese fishing grounds, saying that Chinese boats “blatantly violated” Philippine jurisdiction. The ministry said it would send daily diplomatic protests that Chinese ships would stay there.

On April 4, Lorenzana requested that the ship depart, emphasizing that “the weather has been good so far and there is no reason to stay there.”

Philippines South China Sea
On March 7, 2021, some of the 220 Chinese vessels can be seen moored at the Whitson Reef in the South China Sea. (Philippine Coast Guard / National Task Force-West Philippine Sea via AP)

China ambition

In recent years, China has shown aggression in the South China Sea.

In a 2016 speech, Jin Kang Rong, a professor and vice dean of international studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing, said China was eager to occupy the entire South China Sea. And coral reefs.

“Beijing clearly believes that the use of sufficient coercion and pressure for a sufficient period of time will put pressure on Southeast Asians,” said Gregory, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative.・ Polling states. Washington told The New York Times on April 3rd.

Epoch Times Photo
A formation of the Chinese Navy, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning (C), during a military exercise in the South China Sea on January 2, 2017. (STR / AFP via Getty Images)

Research and analysis of the South China Sea has become a hot topic on the Chinese Internet.

On April 2, SCSPI explored Vietnam’s history of occupying 29 islands and coral reefs in the South China Sea by building airports, hospitals and other facilities, deploying troops, equipping fishing boats with heavy machine guns, and training militias. Published a long article to review. In the last 45 years.

This article urged the international community to focus on Vietnam’s actions in the South China Sea.

There are at least 50 islands and coral reefs in the South China Sea, which were managed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. Brunei also does not control the island so far, but claims it.

Spratly Islands in the South China Sea
April 21, 2017, aerial photograph of the Spratly Islands, an uninhabited island in the disputed South China Sea. (Erik De Castro / Reuters)

In April 2018, Jin said in a speech that China is advancing its goals by continuing to build more structures and building more sophisticated warships that can protect these areas.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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