Chinese and Philippine Ships Collide

A Chinese ship and a Philippine supply ship collided Monday, June 17, close to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The incident is said to have heightened tensions between the two countries especially regarding territorial disputes. The Philippine ship entered waters near Second Thomas Shoal which is a submerged reef in the islands. This territory is claimed by several nations but the Philippines says the shoal is within the internationally recognized exclusive economic zone.

The New York Times reported that Chinese state media said “that the Philippine vessel had ‘ignored multiple stern warnings’ and had behaved ‘dangerously and in an unprofessional manner,’ causing the boats to collide. The Philippines said that Chinese naval, coast guard and naval militia vessels had engaged in ‘illegal and aggressive actions,’ including what it called ‘ramming.'”

MaryKay Carlson, U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, called China’s maneuvers dangerous and that they had “caused bodily injury” and damage to the Philippine vessel.