The Philippine Navy’s lone frigate, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) is currently locked in a standoff with Chinese surveillance vessels, after an attempt by the frigate’s personnel to inspect Chinese fishing vessels illegally fishing in the region around the Scarborough Shoals. Unfortunately, the legality issue becomes murky, as both parties lay claim to the region:
MANILA—The Philippines Wednesday said it is trying to find a diplomatic solution to a tense standoff between a Philippine warship and two Chinese surveillance vessels over fishing rights in the South China Sea, as long-brewing tensions in the contested waters reach a fresh crisis point.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said he met with Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing and both reaffirmed their governments’ positions that the Scarborough Shoal, where the ships are facing off, was part of their own country’s territory and neither was ready to stand down.
Mr. del Rosario said that despite the impasse, and warning that the Philippines would defend itself if attacked, “we resolved to seek a diplomatic solution to the issue.”
“The ambassador of China took the view that they have full sovereignty over the Scarborough Shoal,” Mr. del Rosario told reporters after the meeting at his Manila office. “So, in a sense, we had reached an impasse in terms of our positions. And so there’s a real challenge for us in terms of our agreement to keep on talking today.”
The two navies encountered each other after the Philippine vessel—a former Coast Guard cutter provided by the U.S. Navy—attempted to arrest the crew of several Chinese fishing boats who were anchored at Scarborough Shoal, off the Philippines’ northwest coast but which is also claimed by China. The Philippine government said Chinese surveillance vessels intervened to prevent any arrests, leading to the standoff, and that Filipino sailors who inspected the Chinese vessels on Tuesday found illegally collected corals and live sharks in one of the fishing boats. (Source: The Wall Street Journal)
As I’m currently buried under a pile of reading, potentially waiting for North Korea to launch a rocket, and just in case the more China-centric folks here at Asia Security Watch want to expound upon this issue more, I’ll leave you all with my simple recommendation to the Philippine Navy:
Craig was born & raised in the United States, having recently returned there after over five years in Asia. He is currently pursuing further education in the realms of East Asian Studies and Politics. Craig is an avid fan of the political, economic, and military machinations occurring throughout the Asian continent and how those turning gears affect the rest of the world. He's currently covering both North and South Korea for Asia Security Watch, enjoying shedding light on to this far-too-often ignored slice of Asia.
Craig Scanlan has 82 post(s) on Asia Security Watch