Video Shows China’s Attempted Blockade Against US Ally

Video Shows China’s Attempted Blockade Against US Ally

The Philippines has released video footage allegedly showing the Chinese Coast Guard attempting to block Philippine vessels from operating at one of the most hotly contested areas of the South China Sea.

The videos, purportedly recorded Thursday and shared to social media Sunday, show the Chinese Coast Guard cutting off a Philippine fisheries bureau ship and installing a new floating barrier to keep Filipino fishermen out of the traditional fishing ground.

Scarborough Shoal, known as Bajo De Masinloc in Manila and as Huangyan Island in Beijing, is about 120 miles from the Philippine province of Luzon and nearly 700 miles from the nearest Chinese province.

The Philippine Coast Guard releases a video clip of Chinese coastguard (1) putting up floating barriers around the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) purportedly to prevent Filipino fishermen on Feb 22 from entering their traditional fishing ground.…

— Barnaby Lo 吳宗鴻 (@barnabychuck) February 25, 2024

Asked about the floating barrier at the Chinese foreign ministry’s daily press conference Monday, spokesperson Mao Ning insisted Scarborough Shoal is China’s inherent territory. She said the Philippines had left China no choice but to take steps to firmly secure its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights.

Chinese government-backed media outlet the Global Times published photos Sunday from “a source familiar with the matter” showing over a dozen Philippine fishing boats at Scarborough Shoal, along with the fisheries bureau ship at the center of the neighbors’ latest tit-for-tat, the BRP Datu Sanday.

The photos show Philippine vishing boasts as they “illegally intrude” into the South China Sea “in an organized, provocative manner,” the article read.

Beijing claims sovereignty over most of the Chinese Sea, including features like Scarborough Shoal that lie within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, within which international maritime law gives it the sole right to natural resources. China effectively seized control over the shoal after a prolonged standoff in 2012 that began with a Philippine attempt to detain Chinese fishermen operating there.

The Datu Sanday was on a multiple-day patrol with the aim of “actively ensuring the security of Filipino fishermen in that area,” Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Jay Tarriela wrote on X (formerly Twitter) Thursday.

The China Coast Guard then published a statement Friday saying it had forcefully ejected the ship after the crew failed to heed the Chinese side’s repeated warnings.

However, ship-tracking data shared to X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday by Ray Powell, director of the Stanford-affiliated SeaLight project, showed the Datu Sanday to be still operating in the area after it had purportedly been chased off.

China’s recent repeated expulsion of Philippine fishermen whose livelihoods depend on the marine life-rich waters led to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s order to step up the government’s presence there.

Earlier this month, Manila announced it would begin “rotational deployment” at Scarborough Shoal, with the Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources alternately sending vessels to the area for about a week at a time.

Shortly after losing control over Scarborough Shoal, the Philippines brought the dispute before an international arbitral court in the Hague. Beijing chose not to take part in the proceedings and maintains that the court’s 2016 decision, which largely favored the Philippines, is illegal.

Chinese Coast Guard Operates at Scarborough Shoal
This photo taken on February 15, 2024, shows an aerial view of a China Coast Guard vessel, top, and China Coast Guard personnel in a rigid inflatable boat at Scarborough Shoal. The feature, a traditional…

Jam Sta Rosa/AFP via Getty Images

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