PH resupply run to BRP Sierra Madre successful amid harassment from Chinese vessels
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government successfully conducted another resupply mission in BRP Sierra Madre in the West Philippine Sea, but not without “harassment, dangerous maneuvers, and aggressive conduct” from the China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels.
The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) confirmed that the rotation and resupply mission conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for the commissioned Philippine Navy vessel pushed through on Friday morning.
“The Task Force is also informed that the harassment, dangerous maneuvers, and aggressive conduct of the vessels of the CCG and Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM) against our public vessels took place again during the conduct of routine and regular operations well within our nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),” the Task Force said in a statement.
“The Task Force strongly deplores and condemns the continued illegal, aggressive, and destabilizing conduct of the CCG and the CMM within our nation’s EEZ,” it added.
This routine resupply operation has been done in the BRP Sierra Madre, which has hosted a small contingent of military personnel, since 1999.
The World War II-era warship is situated in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal), a low-tide elevation about 194 kilometers off Palawan province that is well within the country’s EEZ.
Last August 5, Chinese coast guard vessels used water cannons against two PCG boats on a resupply mission to the vessel.
Only one boat successfully made it through with its supplies, prompting PCG to conduct another resupply mission on August 22.
China’s actions are based on its assertion that it owns almost all of the areas in the South China Sea, including the WPS through its ten-dash line.
But the Philippines challenged the then nine-dash line before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which later invalidated Beijing’s sweeping claim.
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