Philippines says Chinese ship used laser to jam coast guard

Manila – The Philippines on Monday accused a Chinese coast guard ship of attacking a Philippine Coast Guard vessel with a military laser, temporarily blinding some of its crew. in the disputed South China Seacalling it a “blatant” violation of Manila’s sovereignty.

The Chinese ships also kept a distance of about 137 meters (449 ft) to prevent the Philippine patrol vessel BRP Malapascua from approaching the Second Thomas Shoal, a sunken reef occupied by Philippine forces on February 6. Dangerously close. said in a statement.

In 2022 alone, the Philippines has filed nearly 200 diplomatic protests against China’s aggressive actions in disputed waters.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea and is on a collision course with other claimants. Despite friendly offers to Beijing by former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his successor Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing in January, tensions persist, with the Philippines and It has a closer military alliance with the United States.

The Chinese Coast Guard has previously tried to blockade Philippine Coast Guard vessels in disputed waters, but this is the first time it has used lasers to inflict physical pain on Filipinos. Brigadier General Armand Balilo, spokesman for the Philippine Coast Guard, told The Associated Press.

There was no immediate comment from the Chinese Embassy in Manila.

According to a Philippine statement, “The Chinese ship fired two green laser beams at BRP Malapascua, temporarily blinding its crew on the bridge.

Philippine ships were forced to leave this area since 1999, when they were escorting supply ships delivering food and crew to the Philippine Navy sentry BRP Sierra Madre, which had been stranded on No. 2 Thomas Reef. rice field. said the guard.

“The willful obstruction of Philippine government vessels delivering food and supplies to our military personnel aboard the BRP Sierra Madre is a blatant disregard for the Philippine sovereign rights in this area of ​​the Western Philippine Sea, It’s clearly infringing,” the Coast Guard said, using the name the Philippines has adopted for waters near its west coast.

Despite the incident, it was not immediately clear whether the Philippine resupply mission had been carried out.

The Chinese coast guard also stopped a Philippine vessel escorting a supply vessel from approaching No. 2 Thomas Shoal in August, the coast guard said. One of the ships has removed its 70mm armament cover, the Coast Guard said, adding it would not be deterred by China’s attack to protect Philippine sovereignty in the disputed waters.

Besides China and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims in resource-rich and busy waterways through which much of the world’s commerce and oil passes.

The United States has no claims to the disputed waters, but deploys forces to patrol the waters to promote freedom of navigation and overflight. The move has angered Beijing, which has warned Washington to stop interfering in what it claims is a purely Asian conflict.

of US Navy and Marines conduct joint exercise in South China Sea at a time of heightened tensions with Beijing over the weekend. Shot down suspected Chinese spy balloonThe United States has taken action Rebuilding Military Power in the Philippines It’s been more than 30 years since the country’s major bases were closed and the arc of military alliances in Asia was strengthened.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission. Philippines says Chinese ship used laser to jam coast guard

Exit mobile version