A month of heightened tensions between the United States and China continues to heat up after a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) ship was temporarily blinded by a “military-grade laser” emitted by a Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessel in the South China Sea. .
The PCG believes that the Chinese vessel’s move was deliberate in order to prevent the shipment of supplies to Filipino soldiers in the area. According to a statement from the Philippine military, the Chinese must not attempt such a “provocative act” again.
“The Chinese ship BRP flashed a green laser light twice towards the Malapascua, causing temporary blindness to its crew on the bridge,” read the statement. “A Chinese ship is also dangerous [maneuvers] By approaching about 150 yards from the ship’s starboard quarter.
According to Vice News, it is not certain whether the PCG resupply mission has been completed or not.
“Deliberately blocking Philippine government ships from delivering food and supplies to our military personnel … is a flagrant disregard and flagrant violation of Philippine sovereign rights in this part of the West Philippine Sea.”
The South China Sea has been officially renamed the West Philippine Sea by the Philippines since 2012 as a way of establishing sovereign rights over the waters.
The Philippine Coast Guard blamed China for pointing a laser at the ship
Moreover, the Chinese vessel “made dangerous maneuvers,” Manila said in a statement. pic.twitter.com/C2J1WXwOQJ
— Benar News Philippines (@BenarNewsPH) February 13, 2023
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Jose Antonio Custodio, a Filipino military historian and fellow of the Indo-Pacific Researchers’ Consortium, said in an interview with VICE World News that this blatant violation by the Chinese is nothing new.
“I see this as part of a long list of threats made by the Chinese to the Philippines in order to intimidate the Philippine government and think twice about pursuing legal rights that have been illegally seized by China,” he said. Custodio.
“It does not lead to war, but it is part of China’s aggressive acts.”
China’s Foreign Ministry responded to the incident, saying it “urges the Philippines to avoid such actions, and the actions of the Chinese personnel are professional and restrained.
Speaking about the incident, State Department spokesman Ned Price called China’s actions toward the PCG vessel “provocative and unsafe,” saying it stepped on the Philippines’ “legitimate operations.”
“More broadly, the PRC’s dangerous operational behavior directly threatens regional peace and stability, violates freedom of navigation in the South China Sea as guaranteed under international law, and undermines the rules-based international order.”
Price continued, “The United States stands with our Philippine allies in upholding a rules-based international maritime order and reiterates that against armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels or aircraft, including the Coast Guard, in the South China Sea, the US invokes mutual defense commitments.”
Suspected Chinese “environmental monitoring satellite” fires green laser beams from space at Hawaii pic.twitter.com/VlQcdpzXTp
— JMs_Ultra_LaserEngraving (@Josh714754) February 9, 2023
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Balloons, lasers and now potentially WWIII
The past month has been full of situations in Washington that have forced us to consider whether we are on a direct path to a forceful conflict with China.
Earlier in the month, a Chinese spy balloon caught the world’s attention when the Biden administration allowed it to pass over the United States until it was shot down in the Atlantic Ocean after passing through North Carolina. While the Chinese said it was a simple weather balloon, the Defense Department said it was equipped with sophisticated surveillance technology and the ability to maneuver in the air.
Additionally, the White House confirmed that the spy balloon had flown directly over sensitive military installations in order to gather information.
To make matters more suspicious, NASA scientists confirmed that a Chinese satellite emitted giant green rays over the Hawaiian Islands several weeks ago, which was caught on camera. While some experts say it’s harmless and that this particular satellite is simply gathering information about airborne pollutants, the timing, location and scale of the lasers has alarmed many.
As many pundits and commentators wonder whether or not all of this will set up a cold war with China, a recent interview for The Political Insider with Kelly Vlahos, a national security expert at the Quincy Institute, suggests that if tensions heat up, we may face war. Getting involved will not benefit either party.
“They become a much bigger threat,” Vlahos warned. “And with all the war gaming done here in Washington, setting up scenarios between the US and China in Taiwan, we’re going to lose big time.”
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