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China blocks delivery of supplies to Filipino troops, rejects protest

By Oliver Teves / Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:23 a.m. HST, Mar 12, 2014

MANILA » The Chinese coast guard prevented delivery of supplies to Filipino soldiers guarding a disputed shoal in the South China Sea and an envoy rejected a Philippine protest over the interference, officials said Tuesday.

Chinese ships prevented two Filipino civilian vessels hired by the Philippine navy from reaching Second Thomas Shoal on Sunday, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. The shoal is called Ayungin Shoal by Manila and Ren'ai Reef by the Chinese.

"Ayungin Shoal is part of the continental shelf of the Philippines and therefore, the Philippines is entitled to exercise sovereignty rights and jurisdiction in the area without the permission of other states," the statement said.

China's actions "constitute a clear and urgent threat to the rights and interests of the Philippines" under the Law of the Sea, it added.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said the resupply was a routine activity that hasn't been interrupted by the Chinese in the past.

"For 15 years we have conducted regular resupply missions and personnel rotation without interference from China," he said.

He said the Chinese ships used digital signs, sirens and megaphones in ordering the Filipino vessels to leave. The Filipinos returned to Palawan, the nearest Philippine province east of the Shoal.

China's charge d'affaires was summoned and handed the protest note. Hernandez said that as in the past, Beijing rejected the protest.

Less than a month ago, Manila also protested a Chinese water cannon attack on Filipino fisherman near another disputed shoal. No one was injured in the Jan. 27 incident at the Scarborough Shoal off the country's main island of Luzon in the north.

The Filipino troops awaiting fresh supplies are stationed on a decrepit military hospital ship that ran aground in 1999 on the shallow coral outcrop of the Second Thomas Shoal. The rusty ship has since become the symbol of the country's sovereignty over the area.

China has been demanding the removal of the ship, claiming that the area is part of Chinese territory.

Department of National Defense spokesman Peter Paul Galvez said "the Chinese coast guard ships blocked our two vessels which were en route to Ayungin to reprovision" the troops. He did not give other details.

The Chinese did not block Philippine marines and supplies to the station last June, a month after the deployment of Chinese ships to the area that also prompted diplomatic protests from Manila.

China's official Xinhua news agency on Monday quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang as saying that the two Philippine ships were loaded with construction materials and were driven away by Chinese coast guard vessels as they approached the shoal.

"China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters including the Ren'ai Reef," Qin said.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea. Nansha is the Chinese name for the Spratlys, a chain of resource-rich islands, islets and reefs claimed partly or wholly by China, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

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manakuke wrote:
At the root of regional concerns? Control and access to oil and gas rights.-
on March 12,2014 | 02:44AM
cojef wrote:
And other mineral rights.
on March 12,2014 | 06:55AM
ryan02 wrote:
And fishing too. And besides China and the Philippines, there is also Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, and Indonesia fighting over control of the islands in that area. If "might makes right" then China will probably prevail. Not saying that's a good outcome, just being pragmatic.
on March 12,2014 | 06:55AM
mitt_grund wrote:
Objectively, the occupation of these islands by the Philippines is an act of aggression. Don't see any negotiation on their part either. So, tit for tat. The sick, old man that was China under the Qing Dynasty is no more. The Western powers and Japan who freely ravaged China in the 19th and 20th century, forced opium down the throat of the Qing and the Chinese people can accept the blame. Now, they cower and kowtow or strut behind the skirts of their American treaties, doing "nyeah-nyeahs" like little children. China, having been subjected for two centuries by the West to groveling at the foot of Western colonialism and the atrocities of Japanese Imperial "love", have learned one lesson -- never ever yield to Western and Japanese aggression again.

America fails to realize that the two century loss of face is still very much very real to the PRC. They still see this as a challenge to American global supremacy.

We Americans have never failed to take advantage of circumstances. As 9/11 served to bring down Hussein and Iraq, seizing oil fields in the name of 9/11 vengeance and pretend WMD, so the US will go to war to preserve "freedom" of a still-goose stepping Japanese tyrant, who sees himself as the reincarnation of Tojo and Japanese Imperial might.

Abe truly believes the force is with him. Like the senator who manufactured the incident to take over the Republic in Star Wars, Abe is itching to bring about the rebirth of the Empire of Japan, using the vanity of the US to his advantage to bring about war with China. He is Geppetto, the US is the long-nosed puppet.

on March 12,2014 | 08:44AM
ryan02 wrote:
In hindsight, the U.S. probably should have let Japan have China. Would have saved many American lives, as well as the lives of 30 million Chinese people who were killed by their own communists.
on March 12,2014 | 09:57AM
MWF3 wrote:
Philippines has no backing from the U.S..that i guarantee....CHINA AND U.S.has too much invested in their TRADES.
on March 12,2014 | 11:21AM
saveparadise wrote:
The Chinese and Russians are just beginning their conquest of the world. Small countries are no match for the superpowers. They see the West as weak in leadership at this time. Our so called allies will step back when real trouble begins. No one will watch our back. Let the games begin.........history will repeat itself.
on March 12,2014 | 11:22AM
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