PH accuses Chinese warship of ‘dangerous maneuvers’
MANILA, Philippines — A Chinese Navy warship carried out what the Philippine military called “dangerous maneuvers” when it crossed a Philippine Navy transport ship’s bow at a distance of 350 yards, the latest aggressive action of Beijing in the West Philippine Sea.
The Philippine Navy’s BRP Benguet (LS-507) was at 5.8 nautical miles southwest of Pag-asa (Thitu) Island en route to Rizal (Commodore) Reef for a regular rotation and resupply mission on Friday (Oct. 13), when it was shadowed by People’s Liberation Army Navy ship 621 at a distance of 80 yards and attempted to cross its bow with the closest point of approach at 350 yards, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said in a statement on Sunday.
The BRP Benguet issued consecutive radio challenges against the Chinese warship, citing the violation of the Collision Regulations, and demanded it to steer clear from its path.
Baseless ‘10-dash line’
The Chinese Navy ship responded “using their so-called and patently baseless ‘10-dash line’ narrative,” the AFP said.
A video released by the AFP showed the Chinese warship appearing to head right to left in front of BRP Benguet’s path. The Chinese ship later changed course.
The PLAN 621 (Panzhihua) is a 1,500-ton Jiangdao-class corvette equipped with anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, naval guns and torpedoes.
AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said these “dangerous and offensive maneuvers by China’s PLAN not only risk collision but also directly endanger the lives of maritime personnel from both sides.”
The Philippines has military outposts on nine reefs and islands in the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea.
‘Pose significant risks’
“China’s illegal presence and activities interfere with a legitimate Philippine rotation and resupply mission. Its conduct of aggressive manuevers; and any other similar activities that infringe upon the country’s sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are violations of international law,” the AFP said.
“These [dangerous] maneuvers pose significant risks to maritime safety, collision prevention, and danger to human lives at sea. China must immediately halt these unsafe actions and conduct themselves in a professional manner by adhering to international law,” said Western Command chief Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos, who oversees Palawan including the Philippine outposts in the West Philippine Sea.