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Tensions between China and the Philippines are heating up in the East Sea

Jun 20, 2024

Beijing [China], Jnune 20: Not only diplomatic disputes, tensions between China and the Philippines have escalated into clashes and military deterrence.
Last night (June 19), Nikkei Asia quoted Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Romeo Brawner Jr. accused the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) of being "pirates".
Clashes broke out
Specifically, the above allegation stems from a clash that occurred in the shoal area of the Truong Sa archipelago on the morning of June 17. According to Manila, the CCG prevented the Philippines from sending people to use boats to supply the country's forces stationed at the shoal. At yesterday's press conference, Mr. Brawner Jr. information that CCG forces armed with spears and knives boarded a Philippine boat and destroyed some equipment, and took away some communication and navigation equipment. Before leaving, CCG forces also punctured the ship. A Philippine soldier lost a finger in the clash.
Among the devices taken were said to include a Filipino's personal cell phone . Mr. Romeo Brawner Jr. considered it an act of "robbery" and demanded that the Chinese side return assets and compensate.
As of last night, the Chinese side had not responded to the Philippines' accusations. However, on June 17, AFP cited information from the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) saying that a CCG ship and a Philippine supply ship had just collided in the Spratly Islands area in the East Sea.
Previously, Beijing repeatedly accused Manila of causing tension and "infringing on China's sovereignty" in the East Sea. CCG has repeatedly tried to prevent the Philippines from providing supplies to the troops stationed on a warship of this country that ran aground in the above shoal area. On June 14, CGTN quoted Mr. Truong Hieu Cuong, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, declaring that the country would take all necessary measures to deal with "the Philippines' dangerous and escalating actions in the Philippines." East Sea".
Risk of conflict
The clash on June 17 occurred just 2 days after the CCG - a force that has had many actions that caused tension in the area - was officially given the right by Beijing to impose detention of up to 60 days without trial. with foreigners "illegally crossing the border" through waters claimed by Beijing.
The CCG's new powers cause a lot of concern because the CCG can apply the above penalties in areas of the East Sea that China illegally claims sovereignty over - which has been ruled by the International Arbitration Court in The Hague (PCA). ruling rejected in 2016. For a long time, China has given itself the right to carry out law enforcement tasks in waters where it claims sovereignty. Therefore, increasing the power of the CCG has been seen as a new risky step for the East Sea.
Meanwhile, Manila clearly demonstrated its determination not to yield when Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. recently claiming that if only one person of this country is killed in the East Sea due to a clash, it can trigger the Mutual Defense Treaty signed by the Philippines with the US. Recently, Manila has made a series of moves to strengthen defense cooperation with Washington as well as other partners in the region. In particular, recently, the US announced the deployment of the Typhon medium-range missile launch system in the Philippines.
On the contrary, recently, China has also increased military pressure on the Philippines. Most recently, on the evening of June 16, the Hoan Cau Times newspaper reported that Beijing had dispatched a Type 075 amphibious assault ship to the Subi beach area in Truong Sa, which belongs to Vietnamese sovereignty but is illegally occupied by China. permission. Previously, China announced that one of its Type 071 landing ships had just conducted landing exercises with the participation of air cushion landing ships at Subi beach. Not only that, on June 12, China Central Television (CCTV) reported that the country's military had just dispatched three state-of-the-art Type 055 destroyers for exercises in the East Sea.
Faced with the continuous developments that have just occurred, Dr. Richard Javad Heydarian, a Philippine expert in the field of international relations, wrote an article titled: "China - Philippines take one step closer to armed conflict." . In fact, not only Dr. Heydarian but many other observers are also worried that the fire in the East Sea will explode into conflict if tensions between China and the Philippines do not cool down.
Source: Thanh Nien Newspaper