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The Philippines eliminated a Chinese obstacle that obstructed boat traffic in the South China Sea

Credit Philippine Coast Guard

The Philippines eliminated a Chinese obstacle that obstructed boat traffic in the South China Sea

A recent video , shared by the Philippine Coast Guard on Monday, showcases a diver cutting through the ropes that were used to anchor Chinese barriers at the Scarborough Shoal within the South China Sea.  

Amid escalating tensions in the South China Sea regarding territorial disputes, the Philippines has taken a bold step by removing a Chinese barrier that had been obstructing boat traffic.

In response to China’s assertiveness in controlling a vast expanse of the South China Sea, far from its mainland, the Philippine Coast Guard announced on Monday that it had taken unilateral action to dismantle a Chinese barrier that had been preventing Filipino fishing boats from accessing the area.

Video footage released by the Coast Guard showed a diver cutting through the ropes that had secured the barriers at Scarborough Shoal, a region claimed by both the Philippines and China. Subsequently, the maritime obstructions were visibly removed from the water.

In an official statement, the Philippines emphasized that the barrier not only posed a hazard to navigation but also constituted a clear violation of international law. Additionally, it hindered the ability of Filipino fishermen to carry out their fishing and livelihood activities.

As tensions continue to rise in the South China Sea, the response from Beijing remains uncertain. However, China has made its intentions clear to militarize the waters, a crucial global trade route through which one-third of the world’s ocean trade passes.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin asserted that the shoal and its surrounding waters are “China’s inherent territory,” over which Beijing claims indisputable sovereignty.

The Philippines is not the only country in the region contending with China over fishing rights and territorial claims. Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei have also experienced similar conflicts.

While the U.S. Navy had long dominated the waters of the South China Sea, China’s increasing military presence and the strengthening of its Navy and Coast Guard have raised concerns about the potential for a superpower confrontation in the region.

China has already established a military base on Mischief Reef, located more than 900 miles from the Chinese mainland and off the Philippine island of Palawan. This base is equipped with radar installations and a runway capable of accommodating fighter jets. An international tribunal has ruled against China’s claims in the area, but the presence of armed Chinese vessels has compelled generations of Filipino fishermen to relinquish their fishing grounds.

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