A “significant number” of Chinese coastguard and maritime militia vessels tried to stop the latest resupply mission carried out by the Philippine military and coastguard on Wednesday, Manila’s National Security Council said in a statement.
China said it warned two Philippine supply boats and two coastguard vessels to leave the sea area near Nansha Islands on Wednesday and followed the ships throughout, according to a statement from the Chinese coastguard.
The Philippines has been regularly shipping provisions to a World War II-era ship in Second Thomas Shoal that has served as its outpost in the disputed sea since 1999. But Manila has said China’s coastguard and maritime militia ships had constantly tried to block these missions and the Philippines has been publishing videos and images of these encounters to back up its claims.
Despite a 2016 international arbitral tribunal ruling that invalidated its expansive claims, China has been building up several unoccupied land features in the South China Sea, key route for around US$3 trillion worth of traded goods.
Marcos’s administration “will remain steadfast in adhering to a rules-based international order,” the statement from the country’s national security agency said.