A collision between a Filipino ship and a Chinese coast guard vessel near the disputed Ayungin Shoal on Sunday has intensified tensions between the two nations. The incident occurred during a resupply mission, with the Philippines accusing the Chinese coast guard of harassment and dangerous maneuvers.
China, claiming a vast portion of the South China Sea, has been in territorial disputes with neighboring countries. The Spratly Islands, specifically Ayungin Shoal, have become a focal point of contention between Manila and Beijing. This clash follows a prior incident where the Chinese coast guard allegedly used water cannons to obstruct Filipino ships delivering supplies near Scarborough Atoll.
The collision led to significant damage to the Filipino supply ship’s engine and the Coast Guard vessel’s mast. In response, China accused the Filipino ship of deliberately colliding after ignoring multiple warnings. Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos expressed resolve on Facebook, stating that China’s actions reinforced their determination to safeguard sovereignty in the Western Philippine Sea.
The clash prompted the cancellation of a civilian convoy’s mission to deliver supplies to Filipino fishermen and troops due to constant monitoring by Chinese vessels. International diplomats in Manila, including US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson, condemned China’s repeated illegal actions, emphasizing support for the Philippines.
The incident underscores the ongoing maritime tensions in the South China Sea, a critical trade route, as both nations navigate longstanding disputes and geopolitical complexities.