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Video shows intense South China Sea clash between China, Philippines

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Tensions have escalated in the South China Sea following a violent clash between the Philippine and Chinese coast guards Monday, June 17. Newly released footage reveals the severity of the encounter near the contested Second Thomas Shoal, showing Chinese officers wielding weapons and damaging Philippine naval equipment during what was meant to be a routine resupply mission.

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The Philippine military described the incident as “intentional high-speed ramming” by the Chinese coast guard, marking a significant uptick in aggression in this longstanding maritime dispute.

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Philippine Gen. Romeo Brawner reported that the confrontation involved Chinese forces boarding Philippine vessels, seizing weapons and injuring crew members, with one sailor losing a thumb.

Brawner characterized these actions as akin to modern-day piracy. The footage showed Chinese vessels colliding with Philippine boats, and personnel brandishing swords, spears, axes and knives.

FILE PHOTO: Philippine Coast Guard personnel prepare rubber fenders after Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked their way to a resupply mission at the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, March 5, 2024. REUTERS/Adrian Portugal/File Photo
Reuters

Conversely, China has accused the Philippines of “provocative acts” and “illegal transportation” of supplies to a deliberately grounded warship, which Manila asserts as part of its territory in the Spratly Islands. Beijing maintains it acted within its rights, citing “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea and claiming that the Philippine actions endangered the safety of Chinese personnel.

This latest incident, like previous ones, is drawing international attention, especially from the United States, which has a mutual defense treaty with the Philippines.

The confrontation underscores the volatile nature of the regional tensions and the potential for these disputes to influence broader international relations.

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[ryan robertson]

IT WAS A NEAR MARITIME MELEE IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA–

NEW DETAILS AND VIDEO ARE EMERGING FROM A DRAMATIC CLASH BETWEEN THE PHILIPPINE AND CHINESE COAST GUARDS. 

THE NEWLY RELEASED FOOTAGE CAPTURES THE INTENSE ENCOUNTER  NEAR THE CONTESTED SECOND THOMAS SHOAL, AND SHOWS WHAT APPEAR TO BE CHINESE OFFICERS WIELDING WEAPONS AND CAUSING DAMAGE TO PHILIPPINE NAVAL EQUIPMENT.

THE PHILIPPINE MILITARY SAYS IT’S A SERIOUS ESCALATION IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA, DESCRIBING THE INCIDENT AS ‘INTENTIONAL HIGH-SPEED RAMMING’ BY THE CHINESE COAST GUARD DURING A RESUPPLY MISSION. 

ADDITIONAL FOOTAGE SHOWS CHINESE VESSELS COLLIDING WITH PHILIPPINE BOATS AND PEOPLE  BRANDISHING SWORDS, SPEARS, AXES, AND KNIVES. WHILE THE WORLD KNEW ABOUT THE DISPUTE PREVIOUSLY–THE VIDEO IS REINFORCING JUST HOW SIGNIFICANT THE INCREASE IN AGGRESSION IS IN THIS ONGOING MARITIME DISPUTE.

GENERAL ROMEO BRAWNER, THE PHILIPPINES’ TOP MILITARY COMMANDER, SAID THE CHINESE COAST GUARD AND MARITIME MILITIA ASSAULTED THE FILIPINO FORCES WHEN THEY BOARDED FILIPINO VESSELS, SEIZED WEAPONS, AND INJURED CREW MEMBERS. ONE SAILOR REPORTEDLY LOST A THUMB. BRAWNER SAYS THE CHINESE ARE ACTING LIKE MODERN DAY PIRATES. 

WHAT’S MORE, THE PHILIPPINES SAYS THE CHINESE COAST GUARD’S “BRUTAL ASSAULT” AND  “BRAZEN ACT OF AGGRESSION” HAPPENED DURING WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A ROUTINE RESUPPLY MISSION. 

TO NO ONE’S SURPRISE, CHINA IS PAINTING A DIFFERENT PICTURE–AND IS ACCUSING THE PHILIPPINES OF “PROVOCATIVE ACTS” AND “ILLEGAL TRANSPORTATION” OF SUPPLIES. THE SUPPLIES IN QUESTION WERE IN ROUTE TO A DELIBERATELY GROUNDED WARSHIP, WHICH MANILA CLAIMS AS PART OF ITS TERRITORY IN A REGION CALLED THE SPRATLYS.

I HAVE SOME PRETTY IN-DEPTH REPORTS ON THIS OVER AT S-A-N DOT COM…SO BE SURE TO CHECK THOSE OUT…

BUT ESSENTIALLY CHINA MAINTAINS IT HAS “INDISPUTABLE SOVEREIGNTY” OVER THE WHOLE OF THE SOUTH CHINA SEA. SO, CHINA JUSTIFIES THE ACTIONS OF ITS COAST GUARD AS NECESSARY ENFORCEMENT OF MARITIME LAW, ESPECIALLY UNDER THE NEW ENHANCED AUTHORITY BEIJING GAVE ITS COAST GUARD TO SEIZE FOREIGN SHIPS AND DETAIN CREW MEMBERS SUSPECTED OF TRESPASSING IN CHINESE-CLAIMED WATERS.

THE MOST RECENT INCIDENT–LIKE THE MANY PREVIOUS ONES–IS DRAWING INTERNATIONAL CONCERN, PARTICULARLY FROM THE UNITED STATES, WHICH IS TREATY-BOUND TO DEFEND THE PHILIPPINES IF ATTACKED.

FOR MORE OF OUR UNBIASED, STRAIGHT FACT REPORTING ABOUT THE TENSIONS IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA–BE SURE TO DOWNLOAD THE STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS APP OR VISIT US AT SAN – DOT – COM.

FOR STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS, I’M RYAN ROBERTSON.