Philippines urges China to hold dialogue to prevent more incidents in South China Sea

Philippines urges China to hold dialogue to prevent more incidents in South China Sea

The Philippines president called on Beijing to hold talks over the South Sea China incidents that have lately sparked more tension between the two nations.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr on Monday invited Chinese authorities to engage in dialogue to prevent incidents like ramming vessels and the use of water cannons in the contested South China Sea.

Earlier last month, the Philippines accused the Chinese coastguard of engaging in “reckless and illegal actions” in the South China Sea after a collision between two vessels resulted in “minor structural damage” to their ship.

Jay Tarriela, the Philippine coast guard spokesperson, wrote on X that its vessels had “faced dangerous manoeuvres and blocking” from the Chinese coast guard and maritime militia.

Video shared by the Philippines captured the moment its crew hurried to insert a buffer between the colliding coast guard ships, while their Chinese counterparts were observed recording the incident.

Hostilities between China and the Philippines have worsened since last year, resulting in minor collisions at sea and injuries to a few Filipino crewmen, sparking a war of words.

Last month, the Philippines strongly protested after two Chinese coast guard ships sprayed water cannons at a Philippine navy-operated supply boat in the latest and most serious clash between the two nations.

The incident occurred near the disputed Second Thomas Shoal that Chinese vessels are surrounding in an attempt to remove Philippine forces from there.

The water cannon assault resulted in injuries to Filipino Navy crew members and severe damage to their boat in the contested South China Sea.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila issued a statement by the Chinese coast guard that warned the Philippines against “playing with fire.”

Mr Marcos said that the Philippines continues to talk with China, exploring all avenues to engage Chinese leadership, aiming to ease tensions in the waterway.

The president said that the recent joint maritime exercise with Japan, Australia, and the United States will help mitigate sea incidents with China.

Leaders from Japan, the United States, and the Philippines will convene in Washington later this week to address recent incidents in the South China Sea.

Last month, Chinese coast guard ships backed by a military helicopter attempted unsuccessfully to block two Philippine government vessels carrying scientists from reaching two sandbars in the disputed South China Sea, according to Philippine officials.

Chinese coast guard personnel blew the horn on one of their ships for half an hour and repeatedly transmitted radio warnings during the confrontation, but the Filipino scientists managed to complete their four-hour marine and biodiversity research at the barren sandbars called Sandy Cay, the officials said.

The United States has repeatedly warned that it’s obligated to defend the Philippines, its oldest treaty ally in Asia, if Filipino forces, ships and aircraft come under an armed attack.

Additional reporting with agencies