On Friday, August 11, China announced that its coast guard had conducted collaborative exercises with the coast guards of Russia and South Korea. According to an official statement released by China, these maneuvers occurred from August 7 to August 10.
The Chinese coast guard said in the statement that maritime law enforcement from countries including Russia and South Korea took part in the annual North Pacific coast guard drills in eastern Chinese city Ningbo. The drills targetted drug trafficking at sea.
China has number of maritime and territorial disputes in waters around it. It claims entirety of Taiwan and has not ruled out use of force to retake the self-governing island. With Japan, it has dispute over Senkaku/ Diaoyu islands. China also claims the entirety of South China Sea. It cites ancient references for its claim. In the matter of South China Sea, China has diputes with number of countries.
The Philippines often finds itself at odds with China with respect to claims in South China Sea. On Thursday (August 10), the Southeast Asian country said that it will send more supplies to a remote outpost on a reef in the disputed South China Sea. The supplies will be sent as early as next week. This development has come after Chinese boats disrupted a delivery
On last Saturday, a resupply mission could not unload all of its cargo because Chinese coast guard ships blocked its way and fired water cannon at the Philippine coast guard vessels and charter boats attempting to unload food, water and fuel on Second Thomas Shoal.
This flare-up has started a diplomatic row between Manila and Beijing. It also sparked international criticism of China.
A handful of marines are based on a World War II-vintage ship called the BRP Sierra Madre, which was deliberately grounded on the submerged reef in 1999 to check China’s advance in the hotly contested waters. The tiny garrison depends on regular deliveries for their survival.
One of the charter boats that was carrying supplies was prevented from reaching the shoal. The other one was able to unload its cargo.
One of the charter boats carrying supplies to the outpost on Saturday was prevented from reaching the shoal, while the other succeeded in unloading its cargo.
The next delivery would be “early next week hopefully, but definitely before the supply runs out. We’re on the clock now,” Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, chief of the Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Palawan island, told reporters.