Philippines-China relations

TIMELINE: Rift deepens between the Philippines, China over South China Sea

Reuters

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TIMELINE: Rift deepens between the Philippines, China over South China Sea

AYUNGIN MISSION. Chinese ships surround a Philippine Coast Guard ship on a resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal on September 28, 2023.

Philippine Coast Guard

Here is a timeline of key events since 2023 that have escalated tensions between the Philippines and China

MANILA, Philippines – Relations between Manila and Beijing have soured under Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., with Manila pivoting back towards the United States which supports the Southeast Asian nation in its maritime disputes with China.

Here is a timeline of key events since 2023 that have escalated tensions between the Philippines and China:

2023

JANUARY 3-5

Marcos goes on three-day visit to Beijing where he and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree to set up direct communications between their foreign ministries on the South China Sea.

FEBRUARY 2

The Philippines grants the United States greater access to four more military bases under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Three will face north towards Taiwan and one is near the disputed Spratly Islands.

FEBRUARY 13-14

The Philippines accuses China’s coast guard of directing a “military-grade laser” at one of its ships supporting a resupply mission to troops living aboard an ageing warship that Manila deliberately grounded on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal in 1999. Marcos summons China’s ambassador.

MAY 1

US President Joe Biden welcomes Marcos at the White House, the first visit by a Philippine leader in 10 years. They express “unwavering commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.”

MAY 3

The United States and the Philippines agree on new guidelines for their 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, which specifically mention that mutual defense commitments would be invoked in an armed attack on either country “anywhere in the South China Sea.”

JUNE 6

The coast guards of the United States, Japan, and the Philippines hold trilateral exercises in the South China Sea, the first such maneuvers.

AUGUST 5

The Philippines accuses China’s coast guard of blocking and firing a water cannon against a supply boat transporting food for troops on the Second Thomas Shoal, known in China as Renai Reef and in Manila as Ayungin Shoal.

NOVEMBER 16

The Philippines calls on China to remove all “illegal structures” built within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), cease reclamation in those areas and be accountable for the damage the activities caused.

2024

JANUARY 3

The Philippines and the United States carry out their second joint patrol in the South China Sea as China conducts a similar activity with its naval and air forces in the disputed waterway.

MARCH 5

The Philippines calls out China for its coast guard’s “reckless” and “illegal” actions that led to a collision between a Chinese and Philippine ship, damaging the latter and injuring some of its crew, during a resupply mission for troops at the Second Thomas Shoal. China says the Philippine vessels illegally intruded into waters adjacent to the shoal.

MARCH 20

China says the United States must refrain from “stirring up trouble” or taking sides on the South China Sea issue, after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, while on a visit to Manila, a security deal with the Philippines extended to attacks on the Philippine coast guard.

MARCH 24

China’s coastguard says it had taken measures against Philippine vessels carrying out a resupply mission for troops at the Second Thomas Shoal, while the Philippines decried the moves, including the use of water cannon that damaged its ship and injured its crew, as “irresponsible and provocative.”

APRIL 7

Defense forces of the US, Japan, Australia conduct “maritime cooperative activity” in the Philippines’ EEZ in the South China Sea.

APRIL 30

Philippines accuses China’s coast guard of harassment and of damaging two of its boats in a disputed area of the South China Sea, rejects Beijing’s position that it had expelled those vessels from the hotly contested Scarborough shoal.

JUNE 17

China and the Philippines trade accusations over a collision in the South China Sea, which the United States said had caused “bodily injury” and damaged one of Manila’s vessels. – Rappler.com

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