Skip to main content

Unbiased. Straight Facts.TM

International

Filipino coast guard builds station in contested South China Sea

Dec 01, 2023

Share

Media Landscape

See who else is reporting on this story and which side of the political spectrum they lean. To read other sources, click on the plus signs below.

Learn more about this data

Left 17%

Center 57%

Right 27%

Bias Distribution Powered by Ground NewsTM

The Philippines has constructed a new coast guard station on the contested island of Thitu in the South China Sea. The move aims to enhance the coast guard’s ability to monitor movements of Chinese vessels and aircraft in the busy, disputed waterway.

Philippine-occupied Thitu island, locally called Pag-asa island on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, at the disputed South China Sea, is seen through an aircraft window. The Philippine coast guard inaugurated a new monitoring base Friday on a remote island occupied by Filipino forces in the disputed South China Sea as Manila ramps up efforts to counter China's increasingly aggressive actions in the strategic waterway. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
AP Images

Thitu Island, also referred to as Zhongye Island by the People’s Republic of China, has been a longstanding source of dispute. The small island has been occupied by Manila since the 1970s.

A Chinese coast guard vessel goes near the Philippine-occupied Thitu island, locally called Pag-asa island, on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, at the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine coast guard inaugurated a new monitoring base Friday on a remote island occupied by Filipino forces in the disputed South China Sea as Manila ramps up efforts to counter China's increasingly aggressive actions in the strategic waterway. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
AP Images

The Philippines, which controls nine features in the South China Sea, accuses China of aggression and “swarming” by fishing vessels it deems as militia, especially around Thitu Island. China maintains that its coast guard is safeguarding its territory.

As tension mounts over territorial claims in the area, the Philippine coast guard spotted a Chinese navy ship and dozens of militia vessels around the island.

“The behavior of the Chinese coast guard, People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA), and Chinese militias is sometimes unpredictable,” said Eduardo Ano, a Philippine national security adviser. “They do not adhere to the international order, to the rule of law.”

An abandoned structure is seen at the Philippine-occupied Thitu island, locally called Pag-asa island, on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 at the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine coast guard inaugurated a new monitoring base Friday on a remote island occupied by Filipino forces in the disputed South China Sea as Manila ramps up efforts to counter China's increasingly aggressive actions in the strategic waterway. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
AP Images

China’s Foreign Ministry asserted Beijing’s claim over Thitu Island in October, stating, “Zhongye Island (Thitu Island) is Chinese territory, and the Philippine side’s illegal occupation of Zhongye Island has seriously violated China’s sovereignty. It is reasonable and lawful for Chinese warships to patrol the waters near Zhongye Island.”

Meanwhile, encounters are increasing as the Philippines ramp up naval drills with the U.S., Japan, and Australia.

According to the Reuters, footage captured by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) shows reported Chinese planes allegedly circling the Philippines’ Super Tucanos aircraft in the middle of a drill over Hubo Reef on Nov. 26.

“The circling happened for about 15 minutes, and our aircraft were able to finish their mission,” said AFP Chief General Romeo Brawner Jr. “They finished the maritime air patrol in the area of the West Philippine Sea without any untoward incident.”

Australia accused the Chinese destroyer CNS Ningbo of injuring Australian navy divers with sonar pulses in Japanese waters on Nov. 14. Australia said China disregarded a safety warning to keep away from the Australian frigate HMAS Toowoomba.

Liu Jianchao, the Chinese Communist Party’s international minister, reiterated China’s position that the encounter happened outside Japanese territorial waters and that the Chinese warship caused no harm.

“We do urge the Australian government and also the military to act with great prudence in this area,” Liu said at the University of Technology Sydney. “Such a small incident could really escalate if it’s not properly managed.”

Tags: , , , , , ,