New incident between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea

A Philippine boat on a resupply mission was rammed by a Chinese coast guard vessel on Sunday (December 10), the Philippine coast guard said, a day after another confrontation in the hotly contested South China Sea

New incident between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea

A Philippine boat on a resupply mission was rammed by a Chinese coast guard vessel on Sunday (December 10), the Philippine coast guard said, a day after another confrontation in the hotly contested South China Sea.

Beijing, for its part, accused the Philippine ship of having “deliberately collided” with a Chinese coast guard vessel.

On Sunday morning, four Philippine vessels “illegally entered” the waters of the Spratly Islands, claimed by China, the Chinese coast guard said in a statement, adding that a Philippine vessel “disregarded our multiple and stern warnings (…) and suddenly changed direction in an unprofessional and dangerous manner, deliberately colliding with our Coast Guard vessel.”

A long history of maritime disputes

The incident, which occurred near Second Thomas, an atoll in the Spratly Islands, comes the day after another confrontation with Chinese coast guards who “impeded”, using water cannons, three boats from the Philippine government who were resupplying fishermen near the Scarborough Shoal, a reef controlled by Beijing off the Philippine island of Luzon, causing "serious damage to the engine" of one of the boats, Jay Tarriela said on X, Coast Guard spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea.

Manila and Beijing have a long history of maritime disputes in the South China Sea, through which billions of dollars of goods pass each year. Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, including waters and islands near its neighbors' coasts, and has ignored an international tribunal's 2016 ruling that the claim has no legal basis.

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim several reefs and islets in this sea, some areas of which could contain rich oil reserves.