Updated: Jan 20, 2020
While the country’s neighbors have been recently pushing back against Beijing’s extensive maritime claims, the Philippines has chosen to roll out the red carpet for the Asian superpower.
The Philippine and Chinese coast guards will hold maritime exercises next week, Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Capt. Arman Balilo said.
China Coast Guard vessel 5204 will dock at Manila’s South Harbor on Jan. 13.
On Jan. 14, simulation of search and rescue and firefighting would be held at the PCG headquarters in Manila.
Balilo said actual marine exercises would be held, too, and the sendoff for the Chinese ship was set on Jan. 17.
Chinese Coast Guard vessels have been practically occupying Scarborough Shoal to enforce its claims. They are also being used to provide protection for Chinese militia boats in the West Philippine Sea.
In 2019, it was reported that a Chinese Coast Guard ship blocked three Philippine civilian vessels on a resupply mission to Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal.
Indonesia has recently protested Chinese incursions in its territorial waters. In December, Malaysia challenged China’s claims in the South China Sea when it made a new submission to the United Nations seeking clarity on the limits of its continental shelf beyond the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the northern part of the disputed waters.
Vietnam and China were embroiled in months-long standoff last year after Beijing sent an oil survey ship to conduct seismic surveys in waters off Vietnam.
China claims it owns almost the entire South China Sea, but the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia have overlapping claims.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in 2016 that China’s nine-dash line and historic rights claims are invalid. But China refused to acknowledge the ruling.
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