PCG says Chinese Navy ship came very close to PH vessel during resupply mission
MANILA, Philippines — For the first time, the People’s Liberation Army-Navy ship approached a Philippine Coast Guard vessel at a distance of less than one nautical mile during its rotation and resupply (RoRe) mission for the BRP Sierra Madre on Wednesday.
“The People’s Liberation Army Navy ship with bow number 630 approached BRP Sindangan within a distance of only 0.5 nautical miles for the first time,” Jay Tarriela, PCG spokesperson on the West Philippine Sea, said in a statement on Friday.
A China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel also performed a dangerous maneuver, coming “as close as 1 meter” to BRP Sindangan, according to Tarriela.
Tarriela said the CCG also dispatched an additional four vessels, which were actively assisted by five suspected Chinese Maritime Militia vessels.
The spokesperson also noted that two of the CCG vessels were nearly the same size as PCG’s multi-role response vessels.
“This suggests that their objective may have been to address the ‘David and Goliath’ scenario, and to potentially provide more maneuverability for the CCG in their efforts to block the RoRe mission,” he stressed.
China’s actions are based on its assertion that it has jurisdiction over most of the South China Sea, including the WPS, through its so-called ten-dash line.
In 2013, the then nine-dash line was challenged by the Philippines before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, but the 2016 Arbitral Award effectively dismissed the sweeping demarcation.