Philippines criticizes Chinese vessel for “maneuvering at close range” in the South China Sea

The incident occurred on March 2 during Philippine maritime patrol operations around Scarborough Shoal, known locally as Bajo de Masinloc, PCG said in a press release.

It is not yet clear if the Philippines filed a diplomatic protest over the incident. PCG said it had to wait for a signal from the country’s National Task Force for the Western Philippine Sea before making the incident public.

The incident involved a Chinese Coast Guard vessel, No. 3305, which was maneuvering at close range over an area of ​​approximately 21 yards (19.2 meters) in the direction of the Philippine vessel BRP Malabrigo, PCG said.

“This limited the maneuvering space for the BRP Malabrigo – a clear violation of the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) of 1972,” the PCG said in a statement.

According to the commandant of the PKP, Admiral Artemio Abu, the PKP has asked the country’s foreign ministry to help solve the problem through “rules-based and peaceful approaches.”

The Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

China claims most of the waters within the so-called “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea, which is also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Abu said this was the fourth close-range maneuver involving Chinese Coast Guard vessels and Philippine vessels on Scarborough Shoal since May last year.

Despite the risks, Abu said the deployment of Philippine assets and personnel to waters within the country’s exclusive economic zones will continue.

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