PH condemns China's 'irresponsible' actions in West Philippine Sea

PH condemns China’s ‘irresponsible’ actions in West Philippine Sea

/ 06:12 PM March 23, 2024

In this screen grab from video provided by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, a Chinese coast guard ship tries to block a Philippine resupply vessel Unaizah May 4 as it approaches Second Thomas Shoal, locally called Ayungin shoal, at the disputed South China Sea on Saturday, March 23, 2024. (Armed Forces of the Philippines via AP)


MANILA, Philippines — The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) on Saturday said China engages in “irresponsible” actions in the West Philippine Sea, counter to its peace and dialogue invitations.

“The systematic and consistent manner in which the PRC (People’s Republic of China) continues to carry out these illegal and irresponsible actions belies its hollow claims to peace, dialogue, and adherence to international law,” the NTF-WPS stated.


The task force issued the statement following an incident where the China Coast Guard blocked and attacked the Philippine supply vessel Unaizah May 4 with a water cannon near Ayungin Shoal on Saturday, causing injuries and damage.


The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) released a video showing a nearly hour-long attack in the disputed waters, marking the latest in a series of confrontations involving water cannon use and collisions with Filipino vessels.

The NTF-WPS reiterated the Philippines’ commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 arbitral award confirming its territory in the region.

“The Philippines shall continue to act peacefully and responsibly, consistent with international law, particularly UNCLOS and the legally binding 2016 Arbitral Award. Peace and stability cannot be achieved without due regard for the legitimate, well-established, and legally settled rights of others,” the task force said.

The AFP reported that the Chinese vessels performed “dangerous maneuvers,” inflicting “heavy damage” on the Philippine vessel and injuring crew members. Despite this, two Philippine vessels, the BRP Cabra and the BRP Sindangan, provided assistance, allowing the resupply mission to be completed before noon.

Filipino soldiers stationed on Ayungin Shoal depend on regular resupply missions for necessities, living aboard the derelict navy ship BRP Sierra Madre.

The NTF-WPS said it would continue to assert the country’s territorial rights, calling on China to demonstrate its responsibility and trustworthiness as a member of the international community.


“The Philippines will not be deterred – by veiled threats or hostility – from exercising our legal rights over our maritime zones, including Ayungin Shoal which forms part of our EEZ and continental shelf,” the task force said.

“We demand that China demonstrate in deeds and not in words that it is a responsible and trustworthy member of the international community,” it added.

This latest confrontation follows a statement by visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, affirming the United States’ “ironclad” commitments to defend Manila in the South China Sea. After Blinken’s visit, the China Coast Guard attempted to disperse Filipino scientists from cays near Scarborough Shoal.

US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson expressed support for Manila against China’s “repeated dangerous maneuvers & water cannons to disrupt (the Philippine Coast Guard’s) lawful activities in the (Philippine) EEZ” on X, accusing Beijing of violating international law and Philippine navigation freedom.

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China’s claim over almost the entire South China Sea conflicts with other countries’ claims, including the Philippines, despite an international ruling against its legal basis.

With a report from Agence France-Presse
TAGS: West Philippine Sea

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