The territorial row in South China Sea has further escalated with an incident where Chinese coast guard vessels prevented members of a Filipino nationalist youth group from planting a Philippine flag on a rocky outcrop at the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal last Sunday.
The incident between the Chinese and the Kalayaan Atin Ito movement (Freedom It’s Ours) took place as the country was commemorating Independence Day and just as foreign ministers from Southeast Asian countries and China were preparing for a meeting in Kunming to discuss territorial rows in the hotly contested South China Sea, The Philippine Star reported.
Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea and the move by the Filipino nationalists comes as the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague prepares to deliver a ruling on a complex case brought by Manila that could dent China’s sweeping sovereignty claim.
“This is the truth. Chinese have invaded us. We have been saying this long before. They have invaded the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), but they occupied first in 2012 Bajo de Masinloc (Panatag Shoal),” Joy Ban-eg, leader of the Kalayaan Atin group was quoted as saying.
In December last year, KAI also embarked on a voyage to Kalayaan Island Group to protest China’s occupation in the region, an action that triggered strong reactions from Beijing.
China has long been accused of invading into another country’s territory in the disputed region. Vietnam, which has fought China over competing South China Sea claims, has been most supportive of the Philippines' case.
Last month, a group of Chinese soldiers were also involved in an incident where they chased Vietnamese fishermen off Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands.
They were around 10 nautical miles from Chau Vien (Cuarteron) Reef in Truong Sa, a Chinese-flagged high-speed canoe chased after their boat.
According to the fishers, the canoe tried to approach the Vietnamese boat. Seven Chinese soldiers in military camouflage clothing then used horns and loudspeakers to chase the boat out of the area.
Chau Vien is a coral reef belonging to Vietnam's Truong Sa islands. It was occupied by Chinese forces on February 28, 1988. Since 2013, China has enhanced construction activities there, turning Chau Vien into an artificial island and the most important military base among the seven Vietnamese reefs they had occupied, for the East Sea, also known as the South China Sea.
The Philippines has chosen to stop allowing the US, its defense ally, from staging patrols in its territory for South China Sea missions, in order to smooth out territorial disputes with China. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Philippines will not allow its territory to be used as a staging ground for US patrols, AP reports
China has unveiled a range of new weapons that include long-range missiles and others for sea and air combat amid calls by its top officials to be combat-ready following UN-backed tribunal verdict which stuck down Chinas rights in South China Sea. The Southern Theatre Command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) which looks after the South China Sea front has unveiled a series of new weapons during a visit by top military officers
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force will conduct combat air patrols in the disputed South China Sea on regular basis. The PLA Air Force recently conducted a combat air patrol with H-6K bombers and other aircraft including fighters, scouts and tankers to patrol islands and reefs including Huangyan Dao, a military spokesperson said Xinhua on Monday, adding that the patrols will become a "regular" practice in the future
Indonesia will boost its military strength around its Natuna Islands where there have been clashes with Chinese vessels, the defence minister said Wednesday. In an interview with AFP, Ryamizard Ryacudu said bolstering defences around Indonesia's South China Sea islands would involve deploying warships, an F-16 fighter jet, surface-to-air missiles, a radar and drones, as well as constructing new ports and improving an airstrip
China has kicked off the Chinese Defense Information Equipment & Technology Exhibition 2016 (CNTE 2016) in Beijing on June 15, 2016, which aims to promote military-civilian integration and push forward private enterprises to produce military products. The three-days exhibit showcases information-based equipment including new energy, new material, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), power transmission, aeronautics and astronautics, warship and vehicle, satellite navigation, simulation equipment, electronic communication and anti-terrorism equipment, covering main fields of military weapons and equipment in private enterprises scientific research and production, China Military Online reported
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