Hitting China Back, US Changes Strategy to Prevent China From Violating Philippine Sovereignty


Hitting China Back, US Changes Strategy to Prevent China From Violating Philippine Sovereignty
In this photo provided by the Philippine Coast Guard, a Philippine Coast Guard looks as a a Chinese

International Military - As if to show the strength of its country, China has repeatedly interfered with the sovereignty of countries in Southeast Asia. Not only disturbing Indonesia in the Natuna Sea, China also violated the sovereignty of the Philippines.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, China has claimed to respect the principle of sovereignty while recognizing Russia's security interests. However, when it comes to Philippine sovereignty, China shows no respect. China has repeatedly dared to violate the sovereignty of the Philippines to the point of violating international law.

US media outlet Forbes reported that on March 27, the Philippines announced that three weeks earlier a Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessel had nearly rammed a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel near Scarborough Shoal, a maritime feature in the Exclusive Economic Zone. The Philippines is illegally claimed by China.

The incident took place as the Philippines prepares for a massive military exercise involving some 9,000 US and Filipino troops. Philippine diplomats responded but did not cause a change in China's behavior. To further assert the rule of law in the South China">South China Sea, the US should support the Philippines and publicize and condemn China's illegal behavior, using lawfare.

Scarborough Shoal has long been a flashpoint for maritime disputes between the Philippines and China. The shoal is surrounded by rich fishing grounds about 200 km off the coast of the Philippine island of Luzon. China has effectively controlled access to the shoal since 2012, depriving Filipino fishermen of their traditional livelihood.

After a major stalemate in 2012, the Philippines filed a lawsuit against China for violating the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the shoals and for building militarized artificial islands elsewhere in Philippine waters.

The court dismissed China's 'Nine Dash Line' claim to maritime features in Philippine waters, including the Scarborough Shoal, and deemed the artificial islands illegal. After the decision, China allowed Filipino fishermen to temporarily access the Shoal.

But in 2019, China began to again block Filipino fishermen from the shoal and stepped up its aggressive actions in Philippine waters. The PCG has reported four 'close-range maneuvers' incidents by CCG vessels since 19 May 2021.

In each episode, a CCG vessel sailed very close to the PCG vessel, limiting its maneuverability, in violation of the 1972 International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea. The second and third close-range maneuvering incidents, on 1 and 2 June 2021, occurred during PCG exercises at Scarborough Shoal.

On 2 March, a CCG vessel maneuvered within 21 yards of the PCG vessel in the vicinity of the Scarborough Shoal. The Scarborough Shoal incident is part of a broader pattern of China's violation of Philippine sovereignty and attempts to assert control over the South China">South China Sea.

In response to the March 2 incident, the Philippines put forward its standard response: a diplomatic ''protest with China. After the incident became public, the Philippines asserted 'complete sovereignty' over Scarborough Shoal and its territorial sea.

Meanwhile, China claims the Scarborough Shoal as part of its "inherited territory" and warned the Philippines to stop patrols there. Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin will visit China this weekend. On Tuesday, the US State Department announced that it would send a senior policy adviser to the secretary of state, Derek Chollet, to visit Manila and consult with Philippine officials on joint efforts to support the rule of law and ensure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. South China.

The US and the Philippines must change their strategy to prevent China's illegal infringement of Philippine sovereignty. The Philippines said the three-week delay in publicizing the March 2 incident occurred because it first wanted to 'make way' for further verification and diplomatic action.

The slap diplomatic protest, however, did not change China's behavior. Silence is no longer an option, and it is playing out in China's hands. In a Reuters report, the Philippines and the United States (US) began joint military exercises on Monday, March 28, 2022.

This year's 'Balikatan' military exercise involved 8,900 soldiers. Where they will practice shooting and amphibious assault vehicle training.

This military drill is the largest since 2015, after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte stepped up diplomatic ties with the US.

President Duterte initially had close ties with China, but he called it off after fighting over territory in the North Natuna Sea. The Philippines is now recruiting the US as an ally to oppose China's policy on the North Natuna Sea. "We are sending a message to the world that the alliance between our countries is stronger than ever," said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

The Director of US Exercises, Major General Jay Bargeron, said this exercise was designed to improve the country's defense against the disputed crisis in the North Natuna Sea. The Philippines became the most critical country after China claimed several areas in the North Natuna Sea as its own.

Even Manila recently summoned the Chinese ambassador to deal with Chinese-flagged ships 'illegal intruders' that continue to be present in the Spratly islands.

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