Country Risk

Increased Chinese presence in SCS, harassment of Philippine fishermen heighten chance of naval skirmish, informal trade embargo

14 June 2018


On 12 June, China stated it would investigate reports that the China Coast Guard had been forcibly seizing Philippine fishing catches in the area around Scarborough Shoal.

The statement followed a diplomatic protest from the Philippines prompted by Philippine media footage of China Coast Guard officials confronting fishermen. On 18 May, China’s air force landed H-6K bombers on Woody Island in the South China Sea (SCS), marking the first time the advanced bombers had been deployed in the SCS. Partly in response, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Cayetano on 28 May articulated three new principles in Philippine foreign policy: China cannot build on Scarborough Shoal; no country should obtain natural resources by itself in the West Philippine Sea; and China should not attempt to remove an old Philippine navy ship used by Philippine marines in the contested area.

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