The Phillippines Marine successfully deliver food supply to their military ship in a disputed area within the South China Sea on November 23. Delfin Lorenzana, The Philippines’ defense chief said both wooden vessels arrived safely around noon. The resupply mission aborted last week because of an incident between two states. This happened because Chinese sea guards sprayed water canons towards the Phillippines supply ship.
Lorenzana and Chinese ambassador for the Philippines, Huang Xilian have been discussing the issue that occurred on November 16. The Philippines condemned “in strongest terms” the actions of three Chinese Coast Guard vessels which blocked and used water cannons on two Manila vessels in a Philippine-occupied atoll.
Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines also decry the issue that happened in Second Thomas Shoal, or known as Ayungin Shoal locally. “We abhor the recent event in the Ayungin Shoal and view with grave concern other similar developments,” said Duterte during the meeting of ASEAN and China.
Despite the delay, on November 20, Lorenzana instructed the military to send its resupply vessels back to the Shoal. He also assured that China will not interfere this time and make sure there is no military or coast guard when the resupply vessels sail back to the shore.
Aside from the mission went smoothly. Lorenzana said while the Philippines personnel loads off their supply, a Chinese coast guard vessel deploys a rubber boat with three personnel in it to take pictures and video of them. “I have communicated to the Chinese ambassador that we consider these acts as a form of intimidation and harassment,” said Lorenza. In addition, a Philippine military plane flew over as the supply vessels arrived which has been surrounded by Chinese surveillance ships in a years-long territorial standoff.
About the threat coming from China, the Philippines stated that the shoal is their region of sovereignty. Duterte also hopes that China will adhere to The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 arbitral ruling against China to resolve the disputes. Considering both laws, Lorenzana clarified that China does not have the right to interfere with Philippines vessels in their own exclusive economic zone whether we try to catch fish or deliver goods to the military ship in Ayungin Shoal.