By Reniel Tengco on March 27, 2016
In the latest news regarding the escalating tensions surrounding the disputed West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea, there are reports of yet another altercation between the Chinese Coast Guard and fishermen from the Philippines.
According to the Philippines, fishermen, who were within the Philippine 200-mile exclusive economic zone, were forced out of the area by the Chinese Coast Guard. The fishermen, knowing they were in sovereign waters, defended themselves by throwing rocks and what the Chinese Foreign Ministry reported as “fire bombs.” Reports in the Philippines added that the Chinese Coast Guard threw bottles at the said fishermen.
This incident is only one of the many that have been occurring in the heavily disputed area.
“Certain people on the ships even waved around machetes and flung fire bombs, carrying out deliberate provocation, attacking the Chinese law enforcers and official boat, confronting China’s law enforcement and seriously threatening the safety and order of the waters around Huangyan Island,” said Hua Chunying, the spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
As part of the 6th Bilateral Security Dialogue, four air bases and an army camp will be opened in the Philippines for the use of US troops. As an ally of the United States, the Philippines will be assisted by US military troops. At present, the Philippines has been working with the US and has been receiving both military and technological assistance. In turn, the US is able to expand its military presence and operations in Southeast Asia.
The United States has remained a close ally of the Philippines, having a signed mutual defense treaty in 1951, requiring the parties to assist in the defense of each other in the event of an attack by another party. However, the Spratly area does not seem to be covered.
The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, China, Taiwan and Vietnam have all been laying claims to the area.
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