Escalating South China Sea Tensions: The Chinese-Filipino Ship Collisions

Escalating South China Sea Tensions: The Chinese-Filipino Ship Collisions

Amid increasing tensions between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea, US President Joe Biden has expressed a strong commitment to supporting the Philippines. He has made it clear that the US military is prepared to confront China, even if it possesses nuclear weapons, on behalf of the Philippines. This commitment comes in the wake of a recent collision between ships from both countries near an uninhabited island in the South China Sea, as reported by the New York Post.

President Biden emphasized the strength of the United States' defense agreement with the Philippines, describing it as "ironclad." He declared that any attack on Filipino aircraft, vessels, or armed forces would trigger the mutual defense treaty between the US and the Philippines, which was established in 1951. This treaty underscores the commitment of both nations to jointly defend themselves against external armed attacks.

The recent incident occurred on a Sunday when two military ships from Manila collided with a Chinese vessel that appeared to be obstructing their approach to the disputed Second Thomas Shoal. This shoal holds strategic significance as it is located along important commercial shipping routes, even though it is submerged at high tide, as reported by the New York Post.

The Second Thomas Shoal is notably closer to the Philippines than to China and is one of many islands in the South China Sea that are subject to disputes involving China and neighboring countries, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.

Escalating South China Sea Tensions: The Chinese-Filipino Ship Collisions

In response to these events, the Philippines summoned the Chinese ambassador to address two near collisions between Chinese and Filipino ships in the South China Sea, according to local media reports. The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of the Philippines had summoned a Chinese envoy after Chinese vessels collided with a resupply boat contracted by the Philippines' armed forces and a Philippine coast guard ship in the Spratly Islands chain in the West Philippine Sea on October 22.

During a press conference on Monday, Jonathan Malaya, a spokesperson for the Philippines National Security Council, confirmed that one of the Philippines' boats had been damaged in the collision. These actions by China were described as "provocative, irresponsible, and illegal," and they put the safety of the Philippine boats at risk, as reported by CNN. The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea unequivocally condemned China's behavior.

As tensions continue to rise in the South China Sea, it is essential to closely monitor the evolving situation, with diplomatic efforts and international cooperation expected to play pivotal roles in resolving the crisis. Additionally, this incident occurs against the backdrop of an impeachment inquiry initiated by House Republicans, examining President Biden's involvement in his son Hunter Biden's and brother James Biden's foreign business dealings, which include ventures with Chinese government-linked companies resulting in substantial income for the Biden family.

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