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Chinese Coast Guard vessel dangerously blocks Philippine Patrol vessel in South China Sea

Source : The Times of India

Chinese Coast Guard vessel dangerously blocks Philippine Patrol vessel in South China Sea
Image Source : BBC

Chinese Coast Guard vessel dangerously blocks Philippine Patrol vessel in South China Sea

A Chinese coast guard ship blocked a Philippine patrol vessel steaming into a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, causing a frightening near collision in the latest act of Beijing’s aggression in the strategic waterway. The high seas face-off Sunday between the larger Chinese ship and the Philippine coast guard’s BRP Malapascua near the Second Thomas Shoal was among the tense moments it and another Philippine vessel encountered in a week long sovereignty patrol in one of the world’s most hotly contested waterways. The Philippine coast guard had invited journalists to join the 1,670-km patrol for the first time as part of anew Philippine strategy aimed at exposing China’s increasingly aggressive actions in the South China Sea.

In scorching summer heat but relatively calm waters, the Malapascua and another Philippine coast guard vessel, the BRP Malabrigo, journeyed to the front lines of the long-seething territorial conflicts. In areas occupied or controlled by China, the Philippine patrol vessels received radio warnings in Chinese and halting English, ordering them to leave what the Chinese coast guard and navy radio callers claimed were Beijing’s “undisputable territories” and issuing unspecified threats for defiance.

Hostilities peaked Sunday morning in the Philippine-occupied Second Thomas Shoal. As the two patrol vessels approached the shoal’s shallow turquoise waters for an underwater survey, the Chinese coast guard repeatedly warned them by radio to leave the area, which is about 194 kilometers west of the Philippine island province of Palawan. A Chinese coast guard ship rapidly approached and shadowed the smaller Malapascua and the Malabrigo. When the Malapascua maneuvered toward the mouth of the shoal, the Chinese ship suddenly shifted to block it, coming as close as 120 to 150 feet from its bow, said Malapascua’s skipper, Capt. Rodel Hernandez. To avoid a collision, Hernandez abruptly reversed his vessel’s direction and had to bring the boat to a full stop. Chinese Coast Guard vessel dangerously blocks Philippine Patrol vessel in South China Sea Chinese Coast Guard vessel dangerously blocks Philippine Patrol vessel in South China Sea Chinese Coast Guard vessel dangerously blocks Philippine Patrol vessel in South China Sea Chinese Coast Guard vessel dangerously blocks Philippine Patrol vessel in South China Sea IgMp

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