What China vs Philippines Says: South China Sea Gunboat Incident

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Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 06:41 pm

The conflict between states has recently taken a new and worrying turn, spreading waves across the South China Sea.  A Philippine Navy ship was cruising near China’s Huangyan Island when it was attacked by the strong China Coast Guard (CCG). This tragic occurrence has left a long shadow on China and the Philippines’ ongoing tug of war.

You see, the Philippines have been making persistent efforts to deal with a grounded warship near Ren’ai Reef. Plus, they’ve been cozying up to the United States for joint military exercises, setting off alarm bells that China might bring in its big guns, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, if more Philippine warships venture into this hotly contested area.

The Philippines’ Version of What Happened

The Philippine Navy’s gunboat ventured to enter the seas near Huangyan Island despite China repeatedly raising the warning flag, forcing the CCG to take severe measures to eject the unwanted visitor. China is insistent about its control over Huangyan Island and the waters around it, and they aren’t holding back in their assertion.

The conduct of the Philippine side significantly breached international law, fundamental principles of international relations, and China’s sovereignty, according to CCG spokeswoman Gan Yu. We implore the Philippine side to stop infringing right away. 

What makes this latest episode truly eyebrow-raising is the fact that previous provocations were more on the civil side, with Philippine coast guard and government vessels. But now, by sending in a naval gunboat, the Philippines seems to be throwing down the gauntlet, perhaps testing the depth of China’s resolve and using this as a bargaining chip in their ongoing dispute.

Chinese experts are sounding the alarm, warning that if the Philippines keeps pushing with warships, China could hit back in kind, setting the stage for potential military clashes. Interestingly, the Philippines’ Chief of the Armed Forces is sticking to the denial script regarding the Navy vessel near Huangyan Island.

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Is the Philippines Provoking China?

The plot thickens with a joint military exercise called SAMASAMA involving the Philippines and the United States, happening right next door to Huangyan Island. Analysts are reading this as a strategic maneuver to contain China, with the Philippines caught in the middle of a high-stakes geopolitical game.

Picture this scene: The Philippines, like a skilled underdog in a high-stakes card game, are holding their hand close to the chest, contesting Scarborough Shoal and Ren’ai Reef with the giant player at the table, China. But it’s not just any player; it’s like facing an opponent who’s got a royal flush while you’re stuck with a pair of twos. Going head-to-head without the United States by their side is like bluffing in this poker match with all the chips on the line.

Now, imagine you’re in a dark room, fumbling around after accidentally knocking over a table lamp. The tension is palpable, and sparks are flying in the air. You’re desperately trying to regain control, but the risk of causing an even bigger ruckus looms like a lurking specter in the shadows—this is how the situation feels, especially with the US and Philippines teaming up for military drills. 

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