(PatrioticPost.com)- Reports show the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) accused a Chinese vessel of shooting the Filipino ship BRP Malapascua with a strong laser during a resupply operation, briefly blinding several crew members.
Although Ayungin Shoal, also known as Second Thomas Shoal, is located inside the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone, China has unlawfully claimed jurisdiction over practically the entire South China Sea, including the sections Manila refers to as the West Philippine Sea. In 2016, the Philippines prevailed in an international arbitration dispute against China’s aggressive claims. Beijing has since done nothing to implement the verdict.
In 1996, the Philippine Navy made Ayungin Shoal a permanent base of operations. Once Chinese ships intimidated Filipino fishermen away from the shoal, naval operations in the Philippines escalated.
According to a report, a Chinese Coast Guard vessel maneuvered to intercept the BRP Malapascua and flashed it twice with a military-grade laser on February 6.
Wang Wenbin, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, wrongly claimed that the territory belonged to China and failed to address reports of Chinese forces using a military laser to blind a Filipino crew.
For the last four years, the Chinese military has repeatedly utilized lasers against American and Australian crews, including in strikes that might pose a significant risk to the pilots of aircraft hit by high-intensity laser beams.
According to an article from 2018, a U.S. military officer confirmed at least 20 occurrences of utilizing lasers from Chinese sources targeting U.S. airborne operations in the Pacific.
According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian pilots flying in the South China Sea in 2019 were reportedly targeted by Chinese maritime militia boats using lasers.
Filipino President Marcos, Jr. expressed willingness to sign a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with Japan. This would be comparable to the VFA that his administration renewed and enlarged with the United States at the beginning of February.
Marcos, Jr. said the Philippines needed to engage with Japan and other regional partners to maintain safe passage over the South China Sea.