The Philippine coast guard accused a Chinese coastal patrol to climb their bullying methods using for the first time blinding laser“probably for military use”, against one of his ships in the sea of South Chinascene of territorial disputes between China and countries in the area.
“A green laser [dirigido desde un buque chino] it blinded our ship’s crew for about ten seconds. It is the first time that Chinese ships have used this method” against the Philippine coast guard, he told the Philippine Coast Guard on Monday. EFE Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Armand Balilo.
Balilo added that, based on preliminary examinations, “we believe that the laser is probably for military use.”
This new incident occurred on February 6 in the waters of the South China Sea, around the Ayungin Atoll -which the Philippines occupies-, and less than 200 miles (about 322 kilometers) from the western coast of Palawansouthwest of the archipelago and within the exclusive economic area of the Philippines.
This distance, 200 nautical miles, is the limit established by the UN to determine the maritime sovereignty of Statesaccording to a convention China acceded to in 1996.
In a previously released statement, the Philippine coast guard accused a Chinese coast guard vessel of “using the laser twice against the Malapascua vessel” as well as performing “dangerous maneuvers when approaching within 150 yards (137 meters).” to the Philippine ship.
escalation of tensions
The complaint comes at a delicate moment, one week after the Philippines and the US signed an agreement which guarantees the North American country access for its troops to four new military bases in “strategic” Philippine areas.
According to experts, the US access to these bases, whose location has not yet been revealed – with an eye on locations in the north and south of the country, including Palawan -, would help contain Chinese movements in Taiwanself-governing island that Beijing does not rule out invadingand in the South China Sea.
Precisely in Palawan, the vice president of the United States, Kamala Harrisvisited the Philippine Coast Guard last November, where he delivered a speech stating that His country will “defend the Philippines” against Chinese “intimidation” in the waters that Manila and Beijing dispute.
China and the Philippines are in conflict over the sovereignty of several islands and atolls in the South China Sea, which are claimed almost entirely by Beijing for “historical reasons”, Territories also being disputed with Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Brunei.
Meanwhile, the United States seeks to counteract Beijing’s moves in key waters for world trade and rich in natural resources, amid the struggle that both countries maintain to increase their influence in the Pacific.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.. he said in mid-January that the protracted disputes in the South China Sea that involve China, Philippines and other coastal states have kept him “up at night” and warned that any major confrontation in Asia, similar to the war in Ukraine, would be disastrous for the world.
(With information from EFE)
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