Chinese Coast Guard Makes Shocking Move in South China Sea

( – Chinese naval vessels supported by a military helicopter intercepted and attempted to stop a Philippine science mission from doing work at a sandbar in the South China Sea on Thursday, March 21. The Philippine mission was geared toward getting scientists to the sandbar so they could take measurements and perform research at Sandy Cay.

Chinese ships blew their horns for nearly 30 minutes while broadcasting radio warnings directing the Filipinos to leave while the men worked. Filipino authorities said that they successfully completed their 4-hour mission to measure biodiversity at the sandbar before departing under the watchful eye of the Chinese military. They also accused China of “dangerous maneuvers” by their vessels.

Chinese authorities claimed they “boarded” the sandbar and removed the 34 Philippine men and women, suggesting they were engaged in “illegal activities,” without further specification. They also said they issued “warnings and dissuasion” to the group.

Philippine Coast Guard Commodore Jay Tarriela said the Chinese were lying. He said that the Chinese never kicked them off the sandbar, and that they were able to complete their research mission after spending four hours at the location. He added that there were members of independent media organizations who accompanied them on the mission who witnessed the entire ordeal.

The region has been a source of recent flare-ups between Communist China which claims ownership of large swaths of the South China Sea, including sandbars, atolls, and other meager landmasses in the area. This incident marks the latest aggressive interaction between smaller island nations like the Philippines and China.

China has built out infrastructure on some smaller landmasses, including a military outpost it constructed atop a reef near the island of Subi. The Chinese built a runway, seaport, and buildings with advanced communications technology.

They complained in 2017 that the Philippines attempted to build infrastructure in Sandy Cay, and have since been regularly patrolling the area and harassing vessels.

Copyright 2024,