China military says Philippine ship ‘illegally entered’ waters near Scarborough Shoal

October 31, 2023 - 10:05 AM
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A Philippine fisherman watches a China Coast Guard vessel patrolling the disputed Scarborough Shoal, April 5, 2017. Picture taken April 5, 2017. (Reuters/Erik De Castro/File Photo)

China’s military said on Monday that a Philippine military ship “illegally entered” waters near Scarborough Shoal without authorization and it urged the Philippines to immediately stop its provocations.

The statement marks a rare warning from the Chinese military towards the Philippines over its moves in disputed waters in the South China Sea. The military had mostly directed its warnings against U.S. warships in the region.

China and the Philippines have had several confrontations in the South China Sea, recently trading accusations about a collision between a Chinese coastguard vessel and a boat from the Philippines.

“We are urging the Philippine side to immediately stop its infringement and provocations, and earnestly avoid further escalation,” said senior colonel Tian Junli, a spokesperson for the People’s Liberation Army Southern Theater Command.

The Scarborough Shoal is claimed by China, the Philippines and Taiwan.

“The Philippine side’s actions have seriously violated China’s sovereignty and international law and basic norms governing international relations, and are prone to misunderstanding and miscalculation,” Tian said.

He said China followed, monitored, warned and blocked the ship in accordance with the law.

Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, including parts of the exclusive economic zones of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

This has caused escalating maritime friction and territorial disputes.

— Reporting by Ethan Wang and Bernard Orr; Editing by Alison Williams and Jonathan Oatis