AFP: Chinese Navy ship’s ‘dangerous maneuvers’ vs PH Navy vessel unprecedented
MANILA, Philippines — The “dangerous maneuvers” of a Chinese warship against the Philippine Navy vessel in the West Philippine Sea is unprecedented, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said on Tuesday.
The Navy’s BRP Benguet was at 5.8 nautical miles southwest of Pag-asa Island en route to Rizal Reef for a regular rotation and resupply mission on 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, according to the AFP.
“Actually based on the report, the shadowing is a usual occurrence already, but this crossing of the bow is something new,” Aguilar told reporters in an interview in Camp Aguinaldo.
“So in a way, that is an innovation they have been doing,” he added.
Aguilar said the government knows how to deal with this escalation.
“We know how to deal with that situation,” he said when asked if China’s action can be seen as an escalation.
“So for us, we support the strategy of the government to pursue peaceful means in resolving conflict,” he added.
AFP said the BRP Benguet issued consecutive radio challenges against the Chinese warship, but the latter
responded “using their so-called and patently baseless ‘10-dash line’ narrative.”
China’s actions are based on its assertion that it owns almost most of the South China Sea, including the WPS, though its 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.