Philippines accuses China of swarming reef in South China Sea
Philippines accuses China of swarming reef in South China Sea.
Over 135 military boats have been spotted in the South China Sea, leading the Philippines to accuse China of “swarming” a reef off its coast.
According to the coast guard, the boats were “dispersed and scattered” near Whitsun Reef, which is within its exclusive economic zone.
According to them, the growing presence of these military boats is alarming.
China, the Philippines, and other countries are involved in a territorial dispute over the South China Sea.
The Whitsun Reef – which the Philippines calls Julian Felipe Reef – lies around 320km from Palawan Island and more than 1,000km from Hainan Island, the nearest major Chinese landmass.
Chinese maritime militia vessels in the area have increased from 111 in November, according to the Philippine Coast Guard. China has not responded.
Since Ferdinand Marcos Jr became president last year, tensions between the two countries have increased over competing sovereignty claims.
A few days earlier, the Philippines conducted two separate joint air and sea patrols with the US and Australia.
China claims 90% of the South China Sea, but an international tribunal invalidated its claim in 2016, and the country has built islands in the disputed waters since then.
It has also become a flashpoint for Chinese-US relations over the contested waters, and in October, US President Joe Biden warned the Philippine government that if the Philippines are attacked, the US will protect them.
Earlier this week, President Biden made some remarks in response to two collisions between Filipino vessels and Chinese vessels in the waters of the Philippines.
In addition to Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei, parts of the sea are also claimed by these countries.