NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
China has requested that the Philippines remove a grounded ship in the South China Sea
By Sea and Coast | 08/08/2023
In a recent development, China has formally demanded the Philippines to remove its grounded warship from the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. This comes after China employed water cannons to block two Manila supply ships over the weekend, marking a firm stance by both sides in asserting their territorial claims in the area.
The Philippines has accused the Chinese coast guard of obstructing and deploying water cannons against a Philippine military supply ship engaged in what it claims was a routine troop rotation and resupply mission for the Philippine warship. This warship, an aging American vessel from World War II era, houses a small number of troops.
China maintains that it had previously cautioned Manila against sending ships to the Second Thomas Shoal and against transporting "construction materials used for large-scale repair and reinforcement" to the grounded warship. The Chinese coast guard issued a statement on Monday expressing its position.
Additionally, China has called upon the Philippines to restore the Second Thomas Shoal, while noting that it allowed the transport of essential daily items, including food, to the stranded ship. The Chinese statement indicated that the use of water cannons was a precautionary measure to prevent direct interception and potential collision.
In 1999, the Philippines deliberately grounded the warship in an effort to assert its claim over the Second Thomas Reef, a submerged feature within the Spratly Islands.
China has taken a strong stance, asserting "indisputable" sovereignty over the area and urging the Philippines to halt activities it perceives as infringing upon its territorial rights. Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. emphasized that the country remains committed to upholding its sovereignty and territorial rights in the South China Sea, despite the challenges.
Marcos conveyed the Philippines' grievances against China, highlighting the diplomatic dimension of the dispute. While no injuries were reported in the maritime incident, the Philippines is now deliberating its next steps for supplying its troops.
China's claim over the vast majority of the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands, is a contentious issue. Multiple countries, including Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines, assert their sovereignty over this region, which comprises numerous islets, reefs, banks, and shoals, situated at the heart of the South China Sea and intersecting key maritime routes