In the past few weeks, the tension arising from China’s coercive tactics at the West Philippine Sea (WPS) has escalated.
At the Second Thomas Shoal last November 10, 38 Chinese vessels swarmed around the adjacent waters; water cannons along with reckless maneuvers were employed to harass our vessels involved in the resupply mission. In a more recent incident, last December 10, one of the supply boats incurred propulsion damage, and an escorting Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel suffered minor structural damage. A second supply boat was deliberately “rammed” by another Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessel with no physical damage, albeit it was able to successfully complete its mission to resupply BRP Sierra Madre. There were indications also that the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLA-N) is gradually taking a more active role in supporting these operations.