South China Sea: China-Philippines tensions rise over Scarborough Shoal

On September 25, 2023, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to remove the floating barrier installed by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG). Southeast region Scarborough Shoal is also known as Bajo de Masinloc (Under Masinloc in Spanish) and Panatag Shoal (Shoal of Peace in Tagalog) in the Philippines. It was later considered that „Special function.” On September 20th it was revealed that the CCG firewall had been installed monitoring Filipino fishermen in the area. The move is the latest in a series of maritime disputes between China and the Philippines that center on the sovereignty of this shoal in the South China Sea. China has claimed sovereignty over the disputed 'nine-dash line’ as its legal justification. Despite Chinese claims that the Philippines is violating territorial waters, the PCG’s actions in lifting the embargo are consistent. Enables de jure Philippine sovereignty, the shoal in question is a UN Located within the 200 nautical mile zone established under the Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The move by the Philippine government could be seen as a pushback against China’s gray zone tactics in the South China Sea, and is expected to deter similar moves by Beijing in Southeast Asia.

The dispute over Scarborough Shoal between China and the Philippines has its roots in 1995, when the structures were first on stilts. reported Built on Mischief Reef. This was followed by more structures elsewhere. Formal protests from Manila were ignored by Beijing. In 2012, there was a collision at Scarborough Shoal between PCG and CCG ships with ships from the Philippine Navy (PN) and the Chinese Navy (CN). One though Attempt mediation After the United States settled the dispute and ordered ships from both countries to leave the area, China refused to leave the shoal and then began efforts to militarize it. This was followed by an increased presence of CCG and CN vessels, along with vessels used by the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM). The Philippines eventually brought it problem January 2013 to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands, by July 2016; Rule It favored their claims rather than China’s demands. Manila called the ban an affront to its sovereignty. as September 2023, 25 countries have called for the PCA ruling to be respected, while 18 countries have issued statements agreeing favorably with the ruling. Five countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have accepted the ruling: Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam. However, China has refused to recognize the ruling and continues its aggressive activities in the South China Sea.

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The second Thomas Shoal, known as Ayungin Shoal in the Philippines, is another site of expansion. The CCG has recently been deliberately trying to stop any supply ships reaching the BRP Sierra Madre. grounded 1999 to prevent further Chinese incursion into the Shoal. A blockade isn’t the only way the CCG can stop supplies from reaching Marines stationed in the Sierra Madre. Several events in 2023 reflect further expansion by CCG: On 6 February, CCG ship CCG 5205 blocked PRP Malapascua was en route to the PCG ship and PRP Sierra Madre, so it used a military-grade laser on the ship’s crew. China refused Reports asserted that the laser used in the incident came from a laser detector and a green light pointer. Later, on 5th August, CCG 5305 was notified was used A water cannon that prevented supply ships from approaching the BRP Sierra Madre was said to be supported by PAFMM ships to block their passage. As for the position of the Sierra Madre, Claims Manila previously promised Beijing that the ship would be removed, said former journalist Ricoberto Diclao. However, this refused By Manila. According to Philippine National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson Jonathan Malaya, Tiglao’s claims are a case in point. Propaganda China uses it to sow confusion.

The PCG’s actions in removing the floating barrier in Scarborough Shoal is a clear indicator that Manila wants to assert its sovereignty. While China dominates due to its military and paramilitary strength, the Philippines relies on its diplomatic and non-military assets. Please answer Chinese gray-zone strategies and ensuring that rules-based order is maintained in the Indo-Pacific region.

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