US: We stand with PH; China coast guard’s conduct ‘unsafe’ | Global News

US: We stand with PH; China coast guard’s conduct ‘unsafe’

/ 05:55 AM February 15, 2023

China coast guard with laser. STORY: US: We stand with PH; China coast guard’s conduct ‘unsafe’

This handout photo taken on Feb. 6, 2023, and released by the Philippine Coast Guard on February 13 shows a Chinese Coast Guard vessel shining a “military grade laser light” at a Philippine Coast Guard boat nearly 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Second Thomas Shoal, in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea. (Photo handout from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) via Agence France-Presse)

WASHINGTON — The United States on Monday criticized China’s reported use of military-grade laser light against a Philippine Coast Guard vessel in the disputed South China Sea last week, which left the ship’s crew temporarily blinded.

US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said the Chinese coast guard’s “conduct was provocative and unsafe, resulting in the temporary blindness of the crew members.”


“The United States stands with our Philippine allies in the face of the People’s Republic of China Coast Guard’s reported use of laser devices against the crew of a Philippine Coast Guard ship,” Price said.


The incident happened on Feb. 6 nearly 20 kilometers from Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in the Spratly Islands, where Philippine marines are stationed, the Philippine Coast Guard said earlier Monday.

US-PH joint patrols

There has been a series of maritime incidents between the Philippines and China, which claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has ignored an international court ruling that its claims have no legal basis.

Days before this latest incident, the United States and the Philippines agreed to resume joint patrols in the sea, and struck a deal to give US troops access to another four military bases in the Southeast Asian country.

Price said China’s “dangerous operational behavior directly threatens regional peace and stability, infringes upon freedom of navigation in the South China Sea … and undermines the rules-based international order.”


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TAGS: maritime dispute, Mutual Defense Treaty, PH-China Relations, PH-US Relations, West Philippine Sea, WPS laser incident

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