Months of tensions between the US and China are heating up after a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) ship was temporarily blinded by a “military-grade laser” fired from a Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) ship in the South China Sea. .
The PCG believes that the move by the Chinese ships was deliberate so that they could block the transport of supplies to the Filipino troops in the region. According to a statement from the Philippine military, the Chinese should no longer attempt such ‘provocative acts’.
“The Chinese vessel twice flashed green laser light towards the BRP Malapascua, causing temporary blindness to its crew on the bridge,” read the statement. “The Chinese ship has also become dangerous [maneuvers] about 150 yards from the ship’s starboard quarter.”
According to VICE News, it is not certain whether the PCG resupply mission has been completed or not.
“The deliberate blockade of Philippine government ships to deliver food and supplies to our military personnel… is a flagrant disregard and flagrant violation of the Philippines’ sovereign rights in this part of the West Philippine Sea.”
The Philippines has officially named the South China Sea the West Philippine Sea since 2012 as a means of asserting its sovereignty over the waters.
The Philippine Coast Guard blamed China for pointing lasers at the ship
In addition, the Chinese vessel made “dangerous maneuvers,” Manila said in a statement. pic.twitter.com/C2J1WXwOQJ
— BenarNews Philippines (@BenarNewsPH) February 13, 2023
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Jose Antonio Custodio, Filipino military historian and fellow of the Consortium of Indo-Pacific Researchers, said in an interview with VICE World News that this brazen transgression from the Chinese is nothing new.
“I would see this as part of a long list of threats to the Philippines to intimidate the Philippine government into thinking twice about its legal rights that China has illegally taken away from it”. custodian.
“It will not lead to war, but it is part of China’s aggressive actions.”
China’s Foreign Ministry responded to the incident, saying it “requested the Philippines to refrain from such actions, and that the actions of Chinese personnel are professional and restrained.
State Department spokesman Ned Price spoke about the incident, calling China’s actions toward the PCG vessel “provocative and unsafe,” adding that it trampled on the Philippines’ “legitimate operations.”
“More broadly, the PRC’s dangerous operational behavior directly threatens regional peace and stability, violates freedom of navigation in the South China Sea guaranteed under international law, and undermines the rules-based international system.”
“The United States stands with our Philippine allies in upholding the rules-based international maritime order and reaffirms that armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft, including the coast guard, are prohibited in the South China Sea,” Price said. , will invoke US mutual defense commitments.”
Suspected Chinese “environmental monitoring satellite” beams green laser from space over Hawaii. pic.twitter.com/VlQcdpzXTp
— JMs_Ultra_LaserEngraving (@Josh714754) February 9, 2023
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Balloons, lasers, and now possible WWIII
The past month has been full of situations that have forced many in Washington to consider whether we are on a direct path to a forceful confrontation with China.
Earlier in the month, the Chinese spy balloon caught the world’s attention as the Biden administration allowed it to cross the United States until it was shot down over North Carolina into the Atlantic Ocean. While the Chinese said it was an ordinary weather balloon that must have traveled, the Defense Department said it had sophisticated surveillance technology and air-maneuvering capabilities.
Additionally, the White House confirmed that the spy balloon had flown directly over sensitive military installations to gather information.
To make matters more suspicious, NASA scientists have confirmed that a Chinese satellite also emitted a giant green beam over the Hawaiian Islands a few weeks ago, which was caught on camera. Although some experts claimed that it was harmless and that this particular satellite was simply collecting data on airborne pollutants, the timing, location and scale of the laser alarmed many.
While many pundits and commentators wonder if all this sets up a cold war with China, a recent interview in The Political Insider with Quincy Institute national security expert Kelly Vlahos suggests that if tensions heat up, we could face a war. Neither party will benefit from involvement.
“They will be a much bigger threat,” Vlahos warned. “And with all the war gaming that’s been done here in Washington, the situation between the U.S. and China centered around Taiwan, we’ve lost big time.”
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