PH protests Chinese Coast Guard’s harassment using laser
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines protested on Tuesday the harassment of a Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) ship that directed a “military-grade” laser towards a Philippine Coast Guard vessel in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that the diplomatic protest, sent to the Chinese Embassy in Manila, decried “the shadowing, harassment, dangerous maneuvers, directing of military-grade laser, and illegal radio challenges” by the CCG.
“The Philippines has the prerogative to conduct legitimate activities within its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. China does not have law enforcement rights or powers in and around Ayungin Shoal or any part of the Philippine EEZ (exclusive economic zone),” DFA spokesperson Teresita Daza said in a statement.
“These acts of aggression by China are disturbing and disappointing as it closely follows the state visit to China of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in early January during which he and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to manage maritime differences through diplomacy and dialogue, without resorting to force and intimidation,” she added.
The DFA also called on China to comply with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas and the 2016 arbitral ruling, among other international laws.
In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that the Philippines has rights in the West Philippine Sea. It invalidated China’s sweeping nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.
Last February 6, the CCG illuminated its laser towards the PCG vessel as the latter was supporting a Philippine Navy rotation and resupply mission in Ayungin Shoal, also called Second Thomas Shoal.
The illumination resulted in the temporary blindness of PCG crew members.
China, however, argued that the PCG vessel intruded into their maritime territory, the Ren’ai Reef.
With the protest filed, the Philippines now has lodged 203 diplomatic protests since 2022.