DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
February 13, 2023
The Department of Foreign Affairs protested the latest aggressive activities of the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) against Philippine official vessels in the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal, including dangerous maneuvers and the use of a military-grade laser on members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
The diplomatic protest, released to the Chinese Embassy in Manila on 14 February 2023, condemned the shadowing, harassment, dangerous maneuvers, directing of military-grade laser, and illegal radio challenges by CCG vessel 5205 against PCG vessel BRP Malapascua on 6 February 2023.
The Department asserted that the actions of CCG 5205 against the PCG vessel constituted a threat to Philippine sovereignty and security as a state, and are infringements of its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its exclusive economic zone.
“The Philippines has the prerogative to conduct legitimate activities within its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. China does not have law enforcement rights or powers in and around Ayungin Shoal or any part of the Philippine EEZ,” said DFA Spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza.
Spokesperson Daza added, “These acts of aggression by China are disturbing and disappointing as it closely follows the state visit to China of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in early January during which he and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to manage maritime differences through diplomacy and dialogue, without resorting to force and intimidation.”
BRP Malapascua was undertaking a mission in support of the regular rotation and resupply mission for the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal, the Philippines’ permanent presence on the feature. CCG 5205 interfered with the PCG mission, directing a military-grade laser that caused temporary blindness to Filipino crew members aboard BRP Malapascua.
The Chinese vessel then undertook dangerous maneuvers by approaching at a close distance from BRP Malapascua, risking a collision that endangered the Philippine crew. The Chinese vessel also issued illegal radio challenges that demanded that the Philippine vessel leave the area.
The DFA Spokesperson stated, “We call on China to comply with its obligations under international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS and the 2016 Award in the South China Sea Arbitration and direct its vessels to cease and desist from its aggressive activities against Philippine vessels.” #