Tensions in Pacific: Philippines blocks Chinese regime from building artificial island in disputed waters

A Philippine Coast Guard personnel looks through binoculars as he conducts a resupply mission for Philippine troops stationed aboard a stranded warship in the South China Sea. REUTERS/Adrian Portugal/File photo

Philippine officials said their forces intercepted this Saturday Chinese Coast Guard It has created an artificial island in an atoll in disputed waters at sea South China Near the island of Palawan, Philippines.

In a statement, The Philippine Presidential Communications Office The Philippine Coast Guard said it prevented Chinese authorities from building an artificial island in Sabina Atoll, known as Escoda by the Philippines and Jianbin Jiao by the Chinese.

“The fact that the Philippine Coast Guard prevented the Chinese government from pursuing its claim to Sabina Atoll means we are working effectively. “The (Philippine) state has sovereignty over those waters.”Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Jay Dariala said.

The spokesman said the PRP Teresa Magbanua had been in the waters around Sabina for 26 days to avoid China's “illegal activities” and was awaiting the arrival of a Japanese vessel to assist in monitoring operations.

According to Philippine channel GMA, two Philippine vessels, PRP Capra and PRP Malaprigo, are patrolling the waters near Sabina Atoll.

A Chinese Coast Guard ship maneuvers alongside Philippine Coast Guard's PRB Capra. (AP Photo/Jim Gomez, File)

Philippine officials accuse Beijing of destroying coral reefs, which they then use as construction material to build artificial islands.

Sabina Atoll is located in the Spratly Archipelago, 123 nautical miles west of Palawan, and is claimed by Philippines, China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

In recent months, clashes between Chinese and Philippine vessels have escalated in the South China Sea, mainly around Scarborough and Second Thomas Atolls, where Filipino fishermen go to fish.

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Philippine authorities allege the atolls are 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) from their exclusive economic zone, which gives them the right to exploit the resources even though they are considered international waters under international law.

Beijing cites historical reasons for claiming almost the entire South China Sea, through which 30% of world trade flows and which contains 12% of the world's fishing grounds, as well as oil and gas fields.

The Philippine National Security Council called for an “immediate” evacuation from the country Chinese ambassadors Beijing was “responsible” for the leak of the alleged conversation about disputes between the two countries in the South China Sea, which it called “irresponsible”.

Persons in the Chinese embassy should be immediately expelled from the country for violating Philippine laws (…).“, underlines the report of Philippine Defense Counsel Eduardo M. Año.

The adviser is asking the Asian archipelago's foreign affairs department to take “appropriate action” against Chinese diplomats who say they allegedly recorded a phone conversation between a member of their team in Manila and a Philippine security official.

The complaint refers to a leaked transcript of a January 3 phone conversation, echoed by some Philippine media, in which Manila accepted a Chinese proposal to send fewer ships to an atoll in the southern sea and notify Beijing of their missions in advance.

“Continued actions by the Chinese embassy in spreading misinformation, now revealing fake transcripts of alleged conversations between representatives of the two countries, should not go unpunished,” Ano's statement said.

(with information from EFE)

Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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