China’s ‘Trespasser’ Demand To Remove Grounded Vessel From Disputed Shoal Is Rejected By The Philippines In The South China Sea.
China has asked that the Philippines withdraw its grounded naval vessel, the BRP Sierra Madre, from the disputed Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. This follows China’s previous water cannon attack on Philippine supply ships en route to the disputed shoal.
According to the Manila-based tabloid Inquirer, China had lately asked that the Philippines “follow its agreement and remove the grounded vessel” off the shoal. Second Thomas Shoal is known as Ayungin Shoal in the Philippines and Ren’ai Jiao in China.
The announcement came a day after Filipino boats arrived at the grounded naval ship to finish a resupply mission that had been thwarted by Chinese coast guard ships.
According to the news agency, Philippine defense director Delfin Lorenzana said, “As far as I know, there is no such pledge.” “Since 1999, that ship has been docked there. It would have been removed a long time ago if there was a commitment “he stated
In a Facebook post, the chief reaffirmed his position: “Ayungin Shoal is located within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and we have sovereign rights over it. The 1982 UNCLOS, which China accepted, granted us our EEZ.” He went on to say that China’s territorial claim has “neither historic nor legal basis,” and that Manila is free to “do anything we want there, and they are the ones who are actually trespassing.” “We have two documents that establish we have sovereign rights in our EEZ while they have none, and their claim is unfounded,” Lorenzana said in Filipino. The Philippines also took the opportunity to remind China that “the Philippines-United States Mutual Defense Treaty covers a public vessel.” The Chinese attack on BRP Sierra Madre and the armed troops at Ayungin Shoal, according to former Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario, “would trigger the mutual defense commitments under the treaty where the US and the Philippines will act to face [such]common danger’ caused by China.” In 1999, the BRP Sierra Madre was intentionally grounded near the shoal, which is claimed by a number of other countries, in reaction to China’s reclamation of Mischief Reef. Since then, Manila has kept a small detachment of navy officers on board to bolster its claim that the shoal is within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
According to allegations from 2015, the Philippines used small fishing boats to smuggle “cement, steel, cabling, and welding tools” past Chinese coast security warships to repair the rotting vessel’s hull and deck.