New York Daily News

Beijing is accused by Philippine­s of aggression at sea


The Philippine Coast Guard accused a Chinese ship of hitting one of its vessels with a military-grade laser light, temporaril­y blinding its sailors.

Video from officials in Manila shows a green laser coming from a Chinese Coast Guard ship blocking the path of a Philippine vessel in the disputed South China Sea on Feb. 6. The Chinese ship came within 450 feet of the Philippine ship, Philippine Coast Guard officials said Monday.

The Philippine ship was attempting to escort a vessel hauling rations and personnel to another ship marooned on Second Thomas Shoal.

Chinese ships have previously obstructed Philippine sailors, though a Philippine Coast Guard spokesman told The Associated Press this was the first time China caused physical suffering to its seamen. Manila called China’s alleged actions a violation of its sovereign rights in the “West Philippine Sea.”

Beijing hasn’t confirmed the use of a laser during the alleged confrontat­ion.

“We hope the Philippine­s will earnestly respect China’s territoria­l sovereignt­y and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea and avoid any actions that may lead to the expansion of the dispute and complicati­on of the situation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

The Philippine­s made nearly 200 complaints over China’s confrontat­ional conduct at sea in 2022. China said such matters are addressed through “diplomatic channels.”

Chinese leader Xi Jinping hosted Philippine­s President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Beijing early this year, and they agreed to “appropriat­ely manage difference­s.”

The Chinese blocked a Philippine vessel trying to resupply sailors in August.

The Philippine­s announced this month it would allow the U.S. military to access four new bases on its territory. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called the agreement “a big deal.”

After the agreement was announced, Kenneth Faulve-Montojo of Santa Clara University, an expert on Philippine politics, told Time magazine that the deal makes sense.

“By itself, the Philippine­s cannot stand up to China, so it does need the assistance of the United States,” he said. “So from the U.S. and the Philippine perspectiv­e, it appears to be a win-win situation.”

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