Photo: Wikipedia Commons
It has been five days since a Philippine warship bore down on several Chinese fishing vessels at the Scarborough Shoal, raided their ships, and faced-off with two of Beijing’s surveillance vessels.The time has done little to ease the potential flare-up between the two countries who both claim rights to areas throughout the area, supposed to be rich in natural resources.
The Associated Press reports that once the fishermen slipped away unscathed, tensions quited in the Shoal, but that changed yesterday when China deployed two more ships and flew an aircraft over the Philippine Coast Guard vessel.
One of the Chinese ships also ordered a Philippine-registered yacht, which was carrying French nationals involved in an archaeological survey, to leave the Scarborough, which lies about 230 kilometers (143 miles) off the Philippine province of Zambales, Philippine officials said.
“The stalemate remains,” Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said Sunday.
South China Sea expert at the University of New South Wales in Australia Carlyle Thayer told the AP in an email, “If the South China Sea can be compared to a bathtub, it is only a matter of time before there is a collision in this congested space The incident at Scarborough Shoal is a harbinger of what is to come.”
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