The Philippines filed a protest against “unlawful” and “provocative acts” by Chinese state vessels in the West Philippine Sea, including the issuance of 200 radio challenges.
“The 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,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement late Wednesday evening.
“These provocative acts threaten the peace, good order, and security of the South China Sea and run contrary to China’s obligations under international law,” the DFA added.
On Tuesday, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said it is working closely with the DFA to file new diplomatic protests against the continuous presence and activities of foreign vessels in the WPS.
BFAR expressed “serious concern” over the continuous presence of foreign vessels conducting fishing operations in the Philippine waters.
It said Chinese maritime militia vessels had been monitored in big numbers in the WPS, among other concerns.
“These foreign vessels have no clearance from the Philippine government or any existing fisheries cooperation agreements with the country that allow them to conduct any fishing operations,” the agency said, adding that their fishing activities, therefore, are considered Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing within the Philippine territorial waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
In a 2016 arbitral ruling in favor of the Philippines, the Hague-based Permanent Court of
Arbitration ruled that Beijing’s nine-dash line, a demarcation that covers almost 80 percent of the South China Sea, is illegal.
Beijing, for its part, said the presence of a US submarine and other military operations pose a threat to regional security in the South China Sea.
A report from the South China Morning Post (SCMP) quoted the Chinese defense ministry as saying that the US should end military operations in the area as these operations “increase the risks of collisions and even nuclear leaks in the strategic waterway.”
The statement from the Chinese defense ministry came following reports that a US nuclear attack submarine collided with a still-undetermined object in the disputed waters.
The SCMP report quoted Defense Ministry spokesman Tan Kefei saying that China is also demanding an explanation of the said incident, adding that statements from Washington are “unclear.”
Kefei was further quoted as saying that countries in the region “have to question the truth of the incident and the intentions” of the US.
Reports quoted the US Navy disclosing that the nuclear submarine – USS Connecticut – “collided with an unknown object in the South China Sea on October 2, injuring 11 sailors on board,” but no other details were disclosed.