Home Asia Philippines Protests China’s Action Against Philippine Coast Guard in South China Sea

Philippines Protests China’s Action Against Philippine Coast Guard in South China Sea

The Philippines has protested the illegal presence of the Chinese Coast Guard in Bajo de Masinloc, and their “belligerent actions” against the Philippine Coast Guard. The Department of Foreign Affairs of Philippines released the statement on 3 May 2021.

The Philippines called the unauthorized presence of Chinese vessels a “blatant infringement of Philippine sovereignty” and called on China to withdraw its vessels around the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) and Bajo de Masinloc.

China and the Philippines are in dispute over a part of the South China Sea which includes Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal). The Phillippine Coast Guard (PCG) was conducting maritime patrols and exercises near the disputed area when Chinese Coast Guard resorted to “shadowing, blocking, dangerous maneuver, and radio challenges” on April 24-25.

China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson had stated that Bajo de Masinloc belongs to China on 26 April 2021. The Philippines has rejected this claim.

The Philippines government asserted that China’s claim is baseless as per international maritime law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). In 2016, an arbitration tribunal in The Hague had ruled that China’s claim in the South China Sea was inconsistent with international law. However, China has rejected the verdict.

“The Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) and Bajo de Masinloc are integral parts of the Philippines over which it has sovereignty and jurisdiction. The Philippines’ conduct of maritime patrols and training exercises in these areas is a legitimate and routine act of a sovereign country in its territory and territorial waters and is part of the Philippines’ administrative responsibility,” said the statement released by the Department of Foreign Affairs of Philippines.

The statement further read, “China has no law enforcement rights in these areas. The presence of Chinese Coast Guard vessels in the Philippines’ territorial waters of Pag-asa Islands and Bajo de Masinloc, and exclusive economic zone, raises serious concern.”

In a video message released on 2 May, Defense Secretary of the Philippines Delfin Lorenzana also rejected China’s demand that the Philippines end its patrols in the disputed region. 

“While we acknowledge that China’s military capability is more advanced than ours, this does not prevent us from defending our national interests and our dignity as a people with all that we have,” said Mr. Lorenzana.