Chinese Territorial Strife Hits Archaeology


Underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio’s team was exploring the wreckage of a 13th-century Chinese junk off the coast of the Philippines when it made an unwelcome discovery about China’s maritime muscle in the 21st century.

As a twin-prop plane swooped overhead, a Chinese marine-surveillance vessel approached the team’s Philippines-registered ship and began broadcasting instructions in English over a loudspeaker.

“They said this area belonged to the People’s Republic of China, and they told us to scram,” recalls one of the people on board last year. “It was pretty scary.” Chinese officials confirm the incident took place but say the archaeologists’ mission was illegal.


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