Chinese ‘swarm’ forming in WPS

Chinese ‘swarm’ forming in WPS

(UPDATE) CHINA’S maritime militia has been repositioning its ships in preparation for “swarming” maneuvers in the West Philippine Sea.

Ray Powell, director of SeaLight, a maritime transparency project that monitors and reports activities in the South China Sea, said on Friday at least 20 large militia ships moved south.

Powell said based on the automatic identification system (AIS), two groups of eight vessels headed to the Spratly Islands, while another group of four moved southeast and headed toward the Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal), where a Philippine research vessel recently conducted a hydrographic survey.

The previous week, a swarm of Chinese vessels was monitored at Bajo de Masinloc. It included at least China Coast Guard (CCG) ships and 10 Qiong Sansha Yu maritime ships.

Gaute Friis of Sealight said swarming is a common Chinese tactic involving dispatching a flotilla “to overwhelm and intimidate other countries’ assets, assert dominance, or provide a security screen for certain Chinese ships on special missions.” Beijing used the tactic several times in 2023.

Get the latest news



delivered to your inbox

Sign up for The Manila Times newsletters

By signing up with an email address, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

In March of that year, China sent ships to swarm and intimidate one of the Philippines’ outposts in the West Philippine Sea, then scattered after its tactic was made public.

Recently, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) noted an increase in CCG and maritime militia vessels in Bajo de Masinloc.

After finishing its survey off Bajo de Masinloc on Thursday, the research ship BRP-H Ventura headed toward Pag-asa Island, at the same time as 16 Qiong Sansha Yu ships will be arriving, said Powell.

A China Coast Guard ship, the CCG 5303, has been shadowing Ventura and its Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) escort ship, the BRP Gabriela Silang, as they headed for Pag-asa Island.

It is believed that the Ventura will carry out research in the Pag-asa cays that were disrupted by Chinese forces.

The CCG 5303 was also monitored, blocking the Philippine vessels 35 nautical miles from Luzon’s coast and within the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The Philippine vessels were halted for about eight hours but were eventually allowed to proceed to Bajo de Masinloc at 10 a.m., with the CCG shadowing them.

“China’s clearly sending a message, maybe in the wake of the other things that have been happening, including this trilateral summit, that China is being especially aggressive and making the point that it believes in this 9-dash claim,” said Powell.

Last week, the Philippines formed a three-way partnership with the United States and Japan designed to strengthen security ties.

China has frowned on the partnership, saying it only escalates tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.

On Friday, several youth organizations belonging to the newly established Alyansa Bantay Kapayapaan at Demokrasya (ABKD) held a protest rally in front of the Chinese Embassy in Makati City.

The Alyansa Bantay Kapayapaan at Demokrasya rallies in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City on Friday, April 19 2024, calling on China to respect the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea and to stop harassing Philippine ships sailing within the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The group also expressed outrage against the so-called 'gentlemen's agreement' between then president Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xing Jinping on keeping the status quo in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The Alyansa Bantay Kapayapaan at Demokrasya rallies in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City on Friday, April 19 2024, calling on China to respect the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea and to stop harassing Philippine ships sailing within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The group also expressed outrage against the so-called ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between then president Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xing Jinping on keeping the status quo in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The Alyansa Bantay Kapayapaan at Demokrasya rallies in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City on Friday, April 19 2024, calling on China to respect the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea and to stop harassing Philippine ships sailing within the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The group also expressed outrage against the so-called 'gentlemen's agreement' between then president Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xing Jinping on keeping the status quo in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The Alyansa Bantay Kapayapaan at Demokrasya rallies in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City on Friday, April 19 2024, calling on China to respect the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea and to stop harassing Philippine ships sailing within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The group also expressed outrage against the so-called ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between then president Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xing Jinping on keeping the status quo in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The Alyansa Bantay Kapayapaan at Demokrasya rallies in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City on Friday, April 19 2024, calling on China to respect the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea and to stop harassing Philippine ships sailing within the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The group also expressed outrage against the so-called 'gentlemen's agreement' between then president Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xing Jinping on keeping the status quo in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The Alyansa Bantay Kapayapaan at Demokrasya rallies in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City on Friday, April 19 2024, calling on China to respect the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea and to stop harassing Philippine ships sailing within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The group also expressed outrage against the so-called ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between then president Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xing Jinping on keeping the status quo in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The Alyansa Bantay Kapayapaan at Demokrasya rallies in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City on Friday, April 19 2024, calling on China to respect the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea and to stop harassing Philippine ships sailing within the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The group also expressed outrage against the so-called 'gentlemen's agreement' between then president Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xing Jinping on keeping the status quo in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The Alyansa Bantay Kapayapaan at Demokrasya rallies in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City on Friday, April 19 2024, calling on China to respect the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea and to stop harassing Philippine ships sailing within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The group also expressed outrage against the so-called ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between then president Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xing Jinping on keeping the status quo in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The Alyansa Bantay Kapayapaan at Demokrasya rallies in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City on Friday, April 19 2024, calling on China to respect the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea and to stop harassing Philippine ships sailing within the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The group also expressed outrage against the so-called 'gentlemen's agreement' between then president Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xing Jinping on keeping the status quo in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The Alyansa Bantay Kapayapaan at Demokrasya rallies in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City on Friday, April 19 2024, calling on China to respect the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea and to stop harassing Philippine ships sailing within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The group also expressed outrage against the so-called ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between then president Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xing Jinping on keeping the status quo in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The Alyansa Bantay Kapayapaan at Demokrasya rallies in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City on Friday, April 19 2024, calling on China to respect the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea and to stop harassing Philippine ships sailing within the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The group also expressed outrage against the so-called 'gentlemen's agreement' between then president Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xing Jinping on keeping the status quo in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The Alyansa Bantay Kapayapaan at Demokrasya rallies in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City on Friday, April 19 2024, calling on China to respect the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea and to stop harassing Philippine ships sailing within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The group also expressed outrage against the so-called ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between then president Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xing Jinping on keeping the status quo in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The Alyansa Bantay Kapayapaan at Demokrasya rallies in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City on Friday, April 19 2024, calling on China to respect the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea and to stop harassing Philippine ships sailing within the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The group also expressed outrage against the so-called 'gentlemen's agreement' between then president Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xing Jinping on keeping the status quo in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The Alyansa Bantay Kapayapaan at Demokrasya rallies in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City on Friday, April 19 2024, calling on China to respect the arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea and to stop harassing Philippine ships sailing within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The group also expressed outrage against the so-called ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between then president Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xing Jinping on keeping the status quo in the West Philippine Sea. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

The group called on Filipino people to strongly condemn the aggressive actions by the Chinese coast guard against Philippine ships and Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea and EEZ, and assert the rights of the Philippines under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (Unclos).

“We want to register and show in front of the Chinese Embassy our calls that the harassment and intimidation of Philippine ships and Filipino fishermen is not a solution to the territorial dispute in WPS,” said Rodolfo “RJ” Villena Jr., ABKD convenor and spokesman.

Villena said the group supports the policies of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. affirming the country’s sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.