Chinese and Philippine Ships Collide at Sea, Blame Game Begins

A Chinese coast guard vessel collided with a Philippine supply ship in the South China Sea near the disputed Spratly Islands last Monday in another flare-up over the escalating territorial disputes between the two countries.

According to the Chinese coast guard, the Philippine ship failed to heed the “repeated solemn warnings” and approached the vessel “in an unprofessional manner,” causing the collision.

The Chinese coast guard accused the Philippines of being “entirely responsible” for the incident.

The Philippine military disputed China’s “deceptive and misleading” claims about the collision and added that it would not discuss the details of its resupply mission in the shoal.

The Philippine Navy has been transporting supplies to a long-grounded warship that now serves as the country’s territorial outpost in the shoal.

The Philippines have argued that the Second Thomas Shoal where the Spratly Islands are located falls within its exclusive economic zone based on the 2016 ruling that invalidated China’s expansive claims to the South China Sea.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said in a statement that the Philippine armed forces would continue to resist the “dangerous and reckless behavior” of China and would “fulfill our sworn mandate to protect our territorial integrity, sovereignty, and sovereign rights.”

Teodoro added that the international community should now see that Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea have become “the true obstacles to peace and stability” in the region.

MaryKay Carlson, the US Ambassador to the Philippines condemned the “aggressive” and “dangerous” actions of China, which she said have damaged Philippine vessels, caused injuries, and “hindered lawful maritime operations” to deliver supplies to the Philippine personnel within the country’s exclusive economic zone.

Sources within the military told a Philippine outlet on June 18 that last Monday’s collision punctured the ship’s inflatable boats and injured at least eight crew members, including one who lost a finger.