Philippines denounces China for ‘dangerous and offensive’ actions in South China Sea

October 16, 2023 - 10:45 AM
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A Philippine supply boat sails near a Chinese Coast Guard ship during a resupply mission for Filipino troops stationed at a grounded warship in the South China Sea, October 4, 2023. (Reuters/Adrian Portugal)

MANILA — The Philippine military has called out China to stop “unsafe actions” in the South China Sea, after a Chinese navy ship shadowed and attempted to cut off a Philippine navy vessel conducting a resupply mission late last week.

A Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) vessel came as close as 350 yards as it tried to cross in front of the Philippine ship near Thitu island, Manila’s biggest and most strategically important outpost in the South China Sea, according to armed forces chief Romeo Brawner.

“These dangerous and offensive maneuvers by China’s PLAN not only risk collision but also directly endanger the lives of maritime personnel from both sides,” Brawner said in a statement on Sunday.

The Chinese embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

It was the latest in a series of attempts by China to monitor and block Philippine resupply missions to personnel in Manila-occupied features in the Philippines‘ exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.

China’s claims sovereignty to almost the entire South China Sea, through which more than $3 trillion of trade passes each year.

Ties between Manila and Beijing have soured since Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos pursued closer ties with Washington, including increasing U.S. access to more Philippine military bases.

– Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales. Editing by Gerry Doyle