The Philippine armed forces have declared their intention to make a renewed effort to deliver supplies to troops stationed on a World War 2-era ship stationed on a reef in the South China Sea.
This decision follows a previous attempt thwarted by China’s use of water cannons to deter the resupply mission.
In a statement issued by armed forces spokesperson Medel Aguilar on Saturday, the act of resupplying troops on the Second Thomas Shoal underscores the Philippines’ unwavering commitment to the principles of a rules-based international order, which forms the bedrock of regional peace and stability.
This move by Manila prompted the filing of a diplomatic protest against Beijing earlier this month. China’s coast guard had deployed water cannons and undertaken aggressive maneuvers to prevent the Philippines from providing essential supplies to a small contingent stationed on the shoal.
China’s sweeping claims over almost the entirety of the South China Sea, a stance internationally rejected, have been a source of ongoing tensions.
Additionally, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan, and the Philippines each assert their respective claims to distinct areas within the region.
Emphasizing its sovereign rights and jurisdiction, the Philippines urges all concerned parties to respect its maritime zones and asserts its support for peaceful dispute resolution mechanisms.
At the time of this report, the Chinese embassy in Manila had not responded to requests for comments.
The Chinese coast guard conveyed on August 7th that the Philippines should refrain from dispatching vessels to the shoal and abstain from sending “construction materials used for large-scale repair and reinforcement” to the warship stationed there.
The Philippines deliberately grounded the warship in 1999 as part of its claim to sovereignty over the Second Thomas Shoal, a territory encompassed by its 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
The anticipated resupply mission underscores the Philippines’ determination to counter threats and coercion and uphold the principles of the rule of law.
According to the armed forces, this endeavor demonstrates their commitment to stand firm and to ensure the maintenance of regional stability.
In 2016, an international arbitration tribunal invalidated China’s expansive claims over almost the entire South China Sea.
China, however, does not recognize this ruling and has proceeded to construct artificial islands featuring airstrips and surface-to-air missiles within the South China Sea, further complicating the regional situation.Email your news TIPS to Editor@kahawatungu.com or WhatsApp +254707482874