China and the Philippines: Confrontation in the South China Sea

China and the Philippines: Confrontation in the South China Sea

Beijing is single-minded to expand its influence in the South China Sea: about 200 Chinese ships recently converged in front of the Whitson Reef, which belongs to the Spratly Islands – harmless fishermen’s ships, according to Chinese representations The Spreadhead of a rising maritime militia, the government of the Philippines has fears and fears as confirmed by international experts. When at least seven ships were put into service, high-ranking military officers were present, US Navy expert Andrew Erickson said. And the movements of the seven ships did not indicate the common trails of fishing trawlers, but paramilitary patrols.

The South China Sea is about one and a half times the size of the Mediterranean Sea. All neighboring states claim parts of the maritime zone, which is rich in fish and raw materials, and almost all of them retain bases. However, China claims the entire sea for itself and has developed the islands of the Purcell and Spratly groups into naval, air force and missile bases. This is intensifying Beijing’s conflict with the US and its allies in the region.

Provocative act of militarization

Even the Philippines, which seemed close to Beijing under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte, now again see a rival in China. Last week, Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana described the Chinese Armada meeting on the Whitsun Reef as a “provocative act of militarization” and ordered patrol flights by the Philippine Air Force.

US security adviser Jake Sullivan called his Filipino counterpart on Wednesday, and the two sides agreed to “closely coordinate”. There is a defense alliance in Washington and Manila.

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On Friday, Philippine Foreign Minister Teodoro Loxin met his Chinese colleague Wang Yi. Their conversation seems fruitless, as the Chinese embassy in Manila on Saturday confirmed that Whitson Reef was “part of the Chinese Nansha Islands.” The waters around Niu Jiao (the Chinese name of the reef, rad.) Have been the fishing grounds for Chinese fishermen for many years.

“get out there”

Since then, the dispute has escalated again: On Sunday, Defense Minister Lorenzana demanded that the Chinese recognize Manila’s exclusive economic zone claims that an international arbitration tribunal awarded the Philippines in 2016. “You have no reason to be there. These ships should leave from there. get out there. “

According to Lorenzana, 44 Chinese ships were still anchored on the Whitson Reef on Saturday.

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