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 Zeegeschil China-Philipijnen loopt op infographic
Graphic shows details of BRP Sierra Madre and rival claims in the South China Sea.
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MILITARY

Geschil tussen China en Filippijnen over aan de grond gelopen oorlogsschip loopt op

By Jordi Bou

August 9, 2023 - A rusting former U.S. World War II-era landing ship has sparked renewed tensions between China and the Philippines over territory in the South China Sea.

China has asked the Philippines to tow the BRP Sierra Madre from the disputed Second Thomas Shoal and return the site to its “unoccupied state”.

Manila uses the warship as a base for a handful of troops. It was deliberately run aground in 1999 on the Second Thomas Shoal to help the Philippines check the advances of China in a disputed maritime region.

Tensions flared again on Aug 5, when a Chinese coastguard ship used a water cannon to stop a supply boat from reaching the Sierra Madre, prompting the U.S. to warn Beijing that it is obliged to come to the defence of its ally if it is attacked.

Second Thomas Shoal, also known in China as Renai Reef, and Ayungin in Manila, is one of a series of flashpoints where Chinese coast guard, maritime surveillance ships and maritime militia ships have stepped up harassment of vessels from rival claimants over the past two years.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, which includes Second Thomas Shoal.

In 2016, an arbitration tribunal ruled China’s South China Sea claim illegal under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, but Beijing has rejected the award and continues to ignore it.

Sources
PUBLISHED: 09/08/2023; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images
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