Philippine Coast Guard says Chinese ship aimed laser at one in all its vessels | Mahaz News

Hong Kong
Mahaz News

The Philippine Coast Guard has accused a China Coast Guard ship of pointing a “military grade” laser at a few of its crew, briefly blinding them, aboard a vessel in contested waters of the South China final week.

The Chinese ship additionally “made dangerous maneuvers” in approaching inside 150 yards (137 meters) of the Philippine vessel, the Philippine Coast Guard alleged in an announcement posted on its official Facebook web page, with images purporting to indicate the laser’s inexperienced beam.

The incident allegedly occurred on February 6 close to Ayungin Shoal, often known as Second Thomas Shoal, within the Spratly Islands chain, recognized in China because the Nansha Islands. China calls the shoal Renai Reef.

China’s Foreign Ministry stated Monday the Philippine vessel “trespassed into the waters of Renai Reef without the permission of the Chinese side.”

“The Chinese maritime police vessel defended China’s sovereignty and maritime order in accordance with China’s domestic law and international law,” spokesperson Wang Wenbin stated, with out specifying what motion the Chinese facet took.

China claims “indisputable sovereignty” over virtually all the 1.3 million sq. mile South China Sea, in addition to a lot of the islands inside it. That consists of the Spratlys, an archipelago consisting of 100 small islands and reefs additionally claimed in full or half by the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

The Philippines calls the realm the West Philippine Sea and in 1999 deliberately grounded a navy transport ship, the BRP Sierra Madre, on Second Thomas Shoal, which continues to be manned by Filipino marines to implement Manila’s declare to the realm.

In the February 6 incident, the Philippine vessel BRP Malapascua was on a mission to resupply the Sierra Madre when it was challenged by the Chinese ship, the Philippine launch alleged.

“The Chinese ship illuminated the green laser light twice toward the BRP Malapascua, causing temporary blindness to her crew at the bridge. The Chinese vessel also made dangerous maneuvers by approaching about 150 yards from the vessel’s starboard quarter,” the discharge stated.

“The deliberate blocking of the Philippine government ships to deliver food and supplies to our military personnel on board the BRP Sierra Madre is a blatant disregard for, and a clear violation of, Philippine sovereign rights in this part of the West Philippine Sea.”

The Philippine Coast Guard alleges a China Coast Guard vessel aimed a laser at a Philippine vessel on February 6.
The Philippine Coast Guard alleges that a Chinese ship aimed a laser at a Philippine vessel on February 6 in the Spratly Islands chain.

Allegations of Chinese ships aiming lasers as adversary craft have arisen earlier than.

In February 2022, Australia alleged a People’s Liberation Army Navy warship “illuminated” an Australian P-8A plane, a reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, because it was flying over the Arafura Sea, the physique of water between Australia’s Northern Territory and the island of New Guinea to the north.

At the time, China stated the Australian claims had been “not true.”

“The normal navigation of the Chinese ship on the high seas conforms to relevant international law and practice and is completely legitimate and lawful,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang stated final yr.

In May 2019, Australian pilots stated they had been focused a number of occasions by business lasers throughout missions over the South China Sea.

And in a report in June 2018, US army officers advised Mahaz News that there have been not less than 20 suspected Chinese laser incidents within the jap Pacific from September 2017 to June 2018.

The alleged incident on February 6 got here simply days after Manila, which has a mutual protection treaty with Washington, introduced plans to permit the US army entry to extra bases within the Philippines.

On February 2, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning stated the transfer “escalated tension in the region and endangers regional peace and stability.”

The United States makes no territorial claims within the South China Sea, however US army vessels routinely function within the waterway in accordance to worldwide legislation and freedom of the excessive seas.

Last yr, a US State Department assertion particularly talked about Second Thomas Shoal when calling on China “to end its provocative actions and to respect international law in the South China Sea.”

Beijing was “interfering with Philippine sovereign rights within the Philippine exclusive economic zone near Second Thomas Shoal,” the June 17, 2022, assertion stated.

Monday’s Philippine Coast Guard assertion stated Chinese vessels had additionally blocked a Philippine resupply mission to the Sierra Madre final August.

The commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard stated his service wouldn’t be deterred by any Chinese actions in what it claims as Philippine waters.

“Despite the dangerous maneuver of the much larger (Chinese) ships and their aggressive actions at sea, the (Philippine Coast Guard) ships will always be in the West Philippine Sea to sustain our presence and assert our sovereign rights,” Adm. Artermio M Abu stated.

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