South China Sea: Chinese coastguard allows Philippines to deliver supplies to disputed Second Thomas Shoal

South China Sea: Chinese coastguard allows Philippines to deliver supplies to disputed Second Thomas Shoal

The Chinese coastguard said it had made “temporary special arrangements” to allow the Philippines to deliver supplies to troops at a grounded World War II-era vessel at a disputed reef.

China’s coastguard has previously deployed vessels to block missions by the Philippines to supply troops on the transport ship, which has become a military outpost at the Second Thomas Shoal. Known as Renai Reef in China and Ayungin Shoal in the Philippines, the feature lies about 190km (118 miles) off the Philippine island of Palawan.

In a statement on its official WeChat account late on Saturday, the Chinese coastguard said it had allowed necessary supplies, but also that it would resolutely defend China’s sovereignty and maritime rights and interests at the Second Thomas Shoal and its adjacent waters.

“On January 21, a small aircraft from the Philippines airdropped supplies to the illegally beached warship,” the WeChat statement said.

“The Chinese coastguard has followed up and monitored the situation in real time, controlled and dealt with it in accordance with laws and regulations, and made temporary special arrangements for the Philippines to replenish necessary daily supplies,” it added.

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02:03

Beijing and Manila trade blame over ‘provocative’ moves with ship collisions near disputed shoal

Beijing and Manila trade blame over ‘provocative’ moves with ship collisions near disputed shoal

Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea citing what it calls its historical “nine-dash line”, which cuts into the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.

China has repeatedly called on the Philippines to tow away the ship on the basis of a promise it says Manila made, but Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jnr has denied.

Saturday’s WeChat message said the “relevant parties” in the Philippines had deliberately misled international opinion and ignored the facts, and that was not conducive to easing tensions in the South China Sea.

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