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Philippines completes South China Sea resupply mission amid ‘blockade'

China Coast Guard vessels conducting what Manila claims to be an attempt to “block, harass, and intefere” its resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal on 22 August 2023. (Philippine Coast Guard)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has completed a mission to resupply its garrison on a South China Sea feature despite a maritime blockade enacted by Beijing, Manila has claimed.

A statement released by Manila's National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) on 22 August said the resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal, where the landing ship BRP Sierra Madre is located, was successfully carried out by two civilian boats despite attempts by China to “block, harass, and intefere”.

Manila refers to the South China Sea as the West Philippine Sea. The NTF-WPS is an interagency task force that is meant to co-ordinate the resources of Philippines' maritime agencies including the Philippine Navy, and the Philippine Coast Guard.

These resupply boats were accompanied by two of the Philippine Coast Guard's Japanese-built Parola-class patrol vessels, BRP Cabra and BRP Sindangan , reads the statement from the NTF-WPS. Philippine Navy vessels were also on standby during the mission, the agency added without giving further details on the naval vessels that were involved.

The NTF-WPS has also not given details on the Chinese vessels that were involved in the purported blockade, but a video released by the Philippine Coast Guard indicates that the vessels involved include a China Coast Guard 98 m Shucha II-class patrol ship with pennant number 3302.

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