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Friday, December 22, 2023

Statement on PRC’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea

A Chinese and Philippine ship came close to colliding in the West Philippine Sea as the PRC continues to deny Philippine coast guards the right to patrol the areas near Ayungin Shoal, a Philippine held island.

According to the Philippine Coast Guard, two Chinese coast guard vessels blocked Philippine patrol boats near Ayungin Shoal on April 23, with one of the ships performing “dangerous manoeuvres” and coming within 50 yards of the Philippine Coast Guard’s boat. Similar manoeuvres were documented on April 19 in the same region, according to the Philippines’ foreign affairs department, which also cited other instances of “highly dangerous manoeuvres” by Chinese vessels.

During a week-long special mission, the Philippines Coast Guard also identified more than 100 “suspected Chinese maritime militia vessels, a People’s Liberation Army Navy corvette class, and two China Coast Guard vessels” within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.

It is noteworthy, that on July 16, 2016, a tribunal established under the Law of the Sea Convention of 1982 rendered a unanimous decision that is binding on the Philippines and the PRC. In its decision, the Tribunal rejected the PRC’s expansive maritime claims in the West Philippine Sea as having no validity in international law.  The Tribunal also stated that the PRC has no legal claim to the areas that the Arbitral Tribunal determined to be within the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Philippines. The tribunal also rejected Beijing’s sweeping “nine-dash line,” but the PRC has since refused to acknowledge the ruling.

By brazenly denying the Philippine Coast Guard the right to patrol its sovereign maritime areas, Beijing is showing utter disregard for international law and rule based maritime borders. We will remind the Chinese communist regime to act responsibly and respect the sovereignty and local laws of the Philippines. We will also like to call upon the world to take immediate notice of the issue and stand in solidarity with the Philippines and all other nations frequently harassed by the PRC’s forces

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