Philippine authorities last week announced a successful “resupply mission” for troops stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in the South China Sea.
But before the civilian vessels, which were chattered by the Philippine Navy, reached BRP Sierra Madre to bring the provisions, “David and Goliath” had an hours-long display of maneuvering techniques.
Four China Coast Guard vessels and four Chinese Maritime Militia ships shadowed and blocked two Philippine Coast Guard vessels – BRP Cabra and BRP Sindangan – escorting the chattered supply boats.
According to Philippine authorities, the Chinese vessels aggressively performed at least 10 “dangerous maneuvers” with the closest distance of six meters.
The United States and Vietnam warned on Monday against the “threat or use of force” in the disputed South China Sea, days after the latest clash involving Chinese vessels.
President Joe Biden and Vietnam’s Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong said the competing claims on the strategic waterway must be settled under international norms.
Beijing claims almost the entire sea, through which trillions of dollars in trade passes annually, and has ignored an international court ruling that its assertion has no legal basis.
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“The leaders underscored their unwavering support for the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, without the threat or use of force,” Biden and Trong said in a joint statement.
They also called for “freedom of navigation and overflight and unimpeded lawful commerce in the South China Sea”.
Last week at the ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said, “We cannot emphasize enough that actions not words should be the ultimate measure of our commitment to securing peace and stability in the South China Sea.” – with reports from AFP
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