Philippines Steps Up Diplomatic Protests Against Beijing Over South China Sea Dispute

26-Oct-2021 Intellasia | Republicworld | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Amid tensions between Beijing and Manila, the Philippines this year scaled up its number of protests against China’s action in the South China Sea (SCS). According to Radio Free Asia, in 2021, the Philippines made the highest number of diplomatic protests against China’s communist regime in comparison to the last five years against the latter’s actions in SCS. The Philippines’ demonstrations against China hints at a tougher stance in Manila’s dealing with Beijing, as per Radio Free Asia.

A total of 153 out of the 211 diplomatic notes filed over Chinese actions in the SCS were filed in 2021 alone, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) informed. The recent disclosure came after the DFA revealed information about its protests against China’s “provocative acts” against the Philippine authority patrolling the country’s waters.

In a series of tweets, the department on Wednesday said, “DFA protested the unlawful issuance of over 200 radio challenges, sounding of sirens, and blowing of horns by Chinese government vessels against Philippine authorities conducting legitimate, customary, and routine patrols over and around the Philippines’ territory and maritime zones.”

Separately, according to RFA, DFA Assistant Secretary, Eduardo Menez, informed that the latest protest was issued on 30 September. However, Menez said that these types of warnings are standard operating procedures (SOP), adding that the nation’s Coast Guards also issue warnings from time to time. “The tweet was issued upon instructions,” he said.

Escalating tensions in South China Sea

Notably, as per the news agency, one of the earliest diplomatic protests lodged by the Philippines this year was in March when hundreds of Chinese vessels were sighted mooring at Whitsun Reef in the Spratly Islands. The Philippines has repeatedly said that the reef, which it called Julian Felipe, lies entirely within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

In 2016, the Hague based Permanent Court of Arbitration also rejected China’s claims on the South China Sea and areas inside the ‘nine-dash line’ and ruled in favour of the Philippines, which currently has operational control over the Thitu islands. However, China and Taiwan have both rejected the ruling.

Meanwhile, Beijing, which claims sovereignty, without evidence, over 3.5 million square kilometres of the South China Sea, has ramped up its assertiveness in the region. Threatened with China’s ambition to alter the status of the Pacific region and increased encounters with Chinese vessels, Manila has “substantially” increased patrol vehicles in the area, a Washington based think tank claimed. China claims almost all of the South China Sea which is a resource-rich area and has even asserted its stance by building up several small shoals and reefs into military bases with airstrips along with other port facilities.


Category: Philippines

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