skip to main content

Manila accuses China Coast Guard of ‘belligerent actions' against PCG near Scarborough Shoal

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has accused the China Coast Guard (CCG) of “shadowing” and “blocking” Philippine Coast Guard (PGC) vessels that were conducting what it described as “legitimate maritime patrols and training exercises” near Scarborough Shoal (known in the Philippines as Bajo de Masinloc) between 24 and 25 April.

In a 3 May statement, the DFA said these actions, which it described as “belligerent”, included “dangerous manoeuvres and radio challenges”. The department also noted that it protested the “incessant, illegal, prolonged, and increasing presence of Chinese fishing vessels and maritime militia vessels in Philippine maritime zones”, adding that it rejects a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing claiming that China enjoys sovereignty over the shoal.

According to Manila, China’s claim to the disputed shoal is “without basis in international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)”, and is “not recognised by the international community”.

The DFA also reiterated Manila’s position that both the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), which includes Thitu (Pag-asa) Island, and Scarborough Shoal are “integral parts of the Philippines over which it has sovereignty and jurisdiction”.

China, therefore, “has no law enforcement rights in these areas,” noted the department, adding that the presence of CCG vessels in territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines “raises serious concern”.

“The unauthorised and lingering presence of these vessels is a blatant infringement of Philippine sovereignty,” said the DFA, while reiterating its call on Beijing to withdraw its government vessels from the area.

Meanwhile, Philippine media reported on 4 May that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which are already conducting increased naval and aerial patrols in this area, are considering transforming Thitu Island into a military logistics hub.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...