Tensions with China have just reached a new all-time high as a maritime collision between a Chinese and Philippine vessel has just occurred on Sunday, October 22. The incident is cause for serious concern as this could cause an escalation in conflict between multiple countries.
The South China Sea has become a hotspot for conflict and tension between the nations of the world. Recently, the European Union (EU), Canada, and the United States have voiced their condemnation of Communist China after Chinese vessels collided with Philippine boats on a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre, a Philippine navy ship on Second Thomas Shoal (also known as Ayungin Shoal).
Philippines confirms collision this Sunday morning, when Chinese ships "performed dangerous maneuvers to obstruct Filipino ships en route to Ayungin"
— Marwa Amr (@MarsiAmr) October 22, 2023
The incident occurred on Sunday when the China Coast Guard vessel 5203 engaged in dangerous blocking maneuvers leading to a collision with the Philippine indigenous resupply boat named Unaiza May 2. Furthermore, during the same mission, the Philippine Coast Guard vessel MRRV 4409 was bumped by a Chinese Maritime Militia vessel 00003 while positioned approximately 6.4NM Northeast of Ayungin Shoal.
The National Task Force for West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) called this move “provocative, irresponsible and illegal” as it put “the safety of crew” in danger according to CNN Philippines.
In response to this incident, US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson said that her country condemns China’s actions saying that such efforts are “putting the lives of Filipino service members at risk” and adds that they stand with their allies in protecting Philippines sovereignty in support of an open Indo-Pacific region.
Meanwhile, EU Ambassador Luc Véron said these incidents are “dangerous and very disturbing” and urged all parties involved to observe international law in South China Sea.
Canadian Embassy also released a statement saying that PRC actions were unlawful and dangerous which increases risk of miscalculation across regions. They further added that they stand by Philippines call for full observance of international law.
The South China Sea has been an area prone to tensions due its strategic location shared by several nations who lay claim over some parts or all parts of it.