China Escalates Feud With US Treaty Ally Philippines After Boat Collision

March 6, 2024   |   Tags:
China Escalates Feud With US Treaty Ally Philippines After Boat Collision

China and the Philippines are locked in an aggressive war of words and mutual denunciations after their vessels collided on Tuesday in contested waters near Second Thomas Shoal. The US backs the Philippines in the dispute, setting the stage for broader regional tensions and potential US naval intervention.

The Chinese Coast Guard said in the wake of the collisions that Manila "violated its commitments and deliberately sent two coastguard ships and two supply ships" to a make-shift claimed military outpost. As cited The South China Morning Post, the statement continued: "The Philippines is dishonest in its dialogue, deliberately stirs up trouble, maliciously incites and sensationalizes, and continues to undermine peace and stability in the South China Sea region."

But the Philippine Coast Guard countered by saying their vessels "faced dangerous maneuvers and blocking" and said China’s "reckless and illegal actions led to a collision." Reportedly four four Filipino crew members were injured as a result. Watch the collision below:

And more from the response to Beijing:

"The Philippines demands that Chinese vessels leave the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal immediately," the Phillippines Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, using the United States ally's term for the Spratly Islands feature.

Since coming into power in 2022 Philippine President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has taken a much harder line when it comes to China’s claims to the South China Sea. 

At the same time, Manilla has also been emboldened by the fact that the Pentagon is beefing up its assets both in the Philippines and in regional waters. China has meanwhile been on a years-long campaign to bolster its expansive claims by establishing a series of manmade islands and subsequently militarizing them.

The situation remains highly dangerous given that Washington and Manilla have a military treaty (called the US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty). However, for now at least, Philippine President Marcos told reporters Wednesday: "I do not think that it is a time or the reason to invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty."

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/06/2024 - 14:25