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World: Philippines rejects China's demand to remove ship from shoal

China coast guard blocks Philippine boats in disputed sea

  China coast guard blocks Philippine boats in disputed sea MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Chinese coast guard ships blocked and used water cannons on two Philippine supply boats heading to a disputed shoal occupied by Filipino marines in the South China Sea, provoking an angry protest to China and a warning from the Philippine government that its vessels are covered under a mutual defense treaty with the United States, Manila’s top diplomat said Thursday. Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said no one was hurt in the incident in the disputed waters on Tuesday, but the two supply ships had to abort their mission to provide food supplies to Filipino forces occupying the Second Thomas Shoal, which lies off western Palawa

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines' defense chief rejected on Thursday China’s renewed demand that it remove its outpost on a disputed South China Sea shoal and said Chinese coast guard ships should leave the area and stop blocking Manila’s supply boats.

Activists hold slogans as they protest outside the Chinese consulate in Makati, Philippines on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. The Philippine navy successfully transported food supplies to marines guarding a disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Tuesday, a week after China's coast guard used water cannons to force the supply boats to turn back, sparking outrage and warnings from Manila, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) © Provided by Associated Press Activists hold slogans as they protest outside the Chinese consulate in Makati, Philippines on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. The Philippine navy successfully transported food supplies to marines guarding a disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Tuesday, a week after China's coast guard used water cannons to force the supply boats to turn back, sparking outrage and warnings from Manila, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Philippine forces use a grounded warship, the BRP Sierra Madre, as an outpost on the submerged but strategic shoal that is at the center of an ongoing dispute with China.

China Coast Guard Ships Fire Water Cannons at Philippine Vessels

  China Coast Guard Ships Fire Water Cannons at Philippine Vessels Manila called the Chinese actions "illegal" and reminded Beijing of the U.S.'s backing on South China Sea disputes.The latest maritime clash in the contested waters took place in the early hours of Tuesday, when three China Coast Guard vessels "blocked and water cannoned" two Philippine supply boats en route to Second Thomas Shoal, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. of the Philippines said in a statement published online.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Second Thomas Shoal lies within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines under the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, which China has ratified. He said a 2016 ruling by a U.N.-backed arbitration tribunal also invalidated China’s claims to the busy waterway, leaving them without any legal basis.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked the Philippines Wednesday to “honor its commitment" and remove its grounded vessel on Ren’ai Jiao, the name Beijing uses for the shoal, which Filipinos refer to as Ayungin. Chinese coast guard ships have allowed Manila's boats to bring food and other supplies to Filipino forces at the shoal for humanitarian reasons, it said.

In this photo provided by the Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a virtual plenary session of the ASEAN-China Special Summit in Davao City, southern Philippines, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. Duterte called on China to respect the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which establishes maritime entitlements and sovereign rights over maritime zones, along with a 2016 Hague arbitration ruling that mostly invalidated China's South China Sea claims. China has refused to recognize the ruling. (Richard Madelo/Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division via AP) © Provided by Associated Press In this photo provided by the Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a virtual plenary session of the ASEAN-China Special Summit in Davao City, southern Philippines, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. Duterte called on China to respect the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which establishes maritime entitlements and sovereign rights over maritime zones, along with a 2016 Hague arbitration ruling that mostly invalidated China's South China Sea claims. China has refused to recognize the ruling. (Richard Madelo/Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division via AP)

But defense chief Lorenzana told reporters he was not aware of any Philippine government commitment to remove its navy ship, which has been grounded upon the shoal since 1999.

Philippines renews VFA, a key military agreement with the United States

  Philippines renews VFA, a key military agreement with the United States The Philippines is restoring a military agreement with the United States that makes it easier for US forces to move in and out the country and signals to China a renewed commitment to the 70-year-old US-Philippine alliance. © Rolex Dela Pena/Pool/AFP/Getty Images US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana shake hands after a bilateral meeting at Camp Aguinaldo military base in Manila on July 30, 2021.

“We can do whatever we want there and it is they who are actually trespassing," he said.

Chinese coast guard ships have surrounded the shoal in a years-long territorial standoff and tried to block Philippine supply boats in past years. In the latest confrontation, Chinese coast guard ships used water cannons to forcibly turn back two supply boats manned by Philippine navy personnel last week, sparking outrage and warnings from Manila.

Following the Chinese blockade, the United States said it was standing by the Philippines and reiterated that an armed attack on Philippine public vessels in the South China Sea would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments under the two allies’ 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.

The Philippine navy successfully transported supplies and fresh personnel to the Sierra Madre this week then left without any major incident after Lorenzana talked with China's ambassador to Manila. President Rodrigo Duterte, who has nurtured close ties with Beijing, angrily condemned the Chinese blockade in a video summit of Southeast Asian leaders with Chinese President Xi Jingping. Xi did not specifically react to Duterte’s remarks but said China will not bully its smaller neighbors.

Philippines set to resume resupply mission to South China Sea

  Philippines set to resume resupply mission to South China Sea The Philippines' defense chief said on Sunday a military resupply mission for the country's troops stationed on an atoll in the South China Sea will resume this week, after it was aborted last week when it was blocked by Chinese coast guard. © Erik de Castro/Reuters Members of Philippine Marines are pictured in 2014 at BRP Sierra Madre, a dilapidated Philippine Navy ship that has been aground since 1999 and became a Philippine military detachment on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea.

In this handout photo released by Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Department of National Defense, a wooden ship carrying supplies and Philippine Navy personnel docks beside the Philippine Navy ship LT 57 Sierra Madre off the Second Thomas Shoal, locally known as Ayungin Shoal, on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. The Philippine navy successfully transported food supplies to marines guarding a disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Tuesday, a week after China's coast guard used water cannons to force the supply boats to turn back, sparking outrage and warnings from Manila, officials said. (Released by Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Department of National Defense via AP) © Provided by Associated Press In this handout photo released by Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Department of National Defense, a wooden ship carrying supplies and Philippine Navy personnel docks beside the Philippine Navy ship LT 57 Sierra Madre off the Second Thomas Shoal, locally known as Ayungin Shoal, on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. The Philippine navy successfully transported food supplies to marines guarding a disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Tuesday, a week after China's coast guard used water cannons to force the supply boats to turn back, sparking outrage and warnings from Manila, officials said. (Released by Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Department of National Defense via AP)

It was the latest flareup of long-simmering disputes in one of the world’s busiest waterways, where China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims.

President Joe Biden has assured U.S. allies that American forces will continue to patrol the disputed waters to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight and regional stability. China has warned the U.S. to stay away from what Beijing considers a purely Asian dispute.

Greg Poling of the U.S.-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, which closely monitors the South China Sea conflicts, said China’s recent move may have been aimed at testing the response of the Philippines and its allies if it blockades the Sierra Madre anytime.

“I expect this will happen again and, eventually, China will make a concerted effort to maintain a blockade to force Manila to withdraw,” Poling said.

The World War II-era Sierra Madre is now effectively a shipwreck but the Philippine military has not decommissioned it. That makes the rust-encrusted ship an extension of the government and means any assault on the ship is tantamount to an external attack against the Philippines.

The Philippines is a frontline of another cold war .
To counter China, the United States’ approach to its relationship with the Philippines invokes déjà vu. Despite the passing of decades, the players, strategy and results remain the same. © Getty Images The Philippines is a frontline of another cold war First, the players. Many who have studied U.S.-Philippines relations during the Cold War focus on the relationship between President Reagan and the infamous Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. This is because Ronald Reagan was the quintessential "cold warrior" whose administration attempted to counter communist influence by supporting U.S.

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