Manila summons China envoy over South China Sea collisions

World Monday 23/October/2023 11:54 AM
By: DW
Manila summons China envoy over South China Sea collisions

Manila summoned Beijing's ambassador on Monday and filed a diplomatic protest after two collisions between Philippine and Chinese vessels in the South China Sea.

"We're making full use of diplomatic processes... available to us. That includes summoning the Chinese ambassador, which we did this morning," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Teresita Daza said.

Meanwhile, China's embassy in Manila also lodged a complaint with the Philippines after the collisions, it said in a statement.

The collisions occurred during a Philippine resupply mission to Philippine troops on the BRP Sierra Madre, a grounded former warship in the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

According to the office of the Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, he has ordered his coastguard to investigate the collisions.

Marcos also called a for a meeting with security authorities on Monday to discuss the "latest violation by China" in the South China Sea, his office said.

Tensions in the South China Sea

The incidents occurred on Sunday near Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands — a group of largely uninhabited islands in the strategically important sea with various overlapping claims by the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan.

"Ayungin Shoal is part of our exclusive economic zone and continental shelf and we have sovereign rights and jurisdiction over it," Daza said, using the Philippine name for the shoal that lies around 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the western Philippine island of Palawan — and around 1,000 kilometers from China.

The area has long been a source of dispute but China's increasing presence in the region has stoked tensions to new highs.