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Philippines accuses China of using 'military-grade' laser against its vessels in South China Sea

The incident happened earlier last week while supporting a rotation and resupply (RoRe) mission of the Philippine Navy (PN) in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Milan Published on: February 13, 2023 17:07 IST
The Philippines accused a Chinese coast guard ship hit its
Image Source : PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD/ FACEBOOK The Philippines accused a Chinese coast guard ship hit its coast guard vessel with a military-grade laser on February 6.

South China Sea dispute: In a major development, China allegedly used the latest military-grade laser technology in order to target the Philippines' vessels in the disputed South China Sea on February 6, Monday. According to the statement released by the Philippine coast guard, the incident happened earlier last week while supporting a rotation and resupply (RoRe) mission of the Philippine Navy (PN) in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines accused the Chinese ship illuminated the green laser light twice toward its vessel, the BRP MALAPASCUA, causing temporary "blindness" to her crew at the bridge. 

Calling it a blatant violation of the international treaty, it claimed that the Chinese vessel also made dangerous manoeuvres by approaching about 150 yards from the vessel's starboard quarter.

"As part of her deployment plan, BRP MALAPASCUA altered her course from Ayungin Shoal and headed toward Lawak Island to continue her maritime patrol and support the BRP TERESA MAGBANUA (MRRV-9701) for the PCG’s own RORE mission to its sub-stations in the Kalayaan Island Group," according to the statement released by the Philippines Coast Guard on Facebook.

"The deliberate blocking of the Philippine government ships to deliver food and supplies to our military personnel on board the BRP SIERRA MADRE is a blatant disregard for, and a clear violation of, Philippine sovereign rights in this part of the West Philippine Sea," it added. 

South China Sea dispute

It is worth mentioning that Beijing claims the South China Sea virtually in its entirety, putting it on a collision course with other claimants. Notably, this was not the first incident when the Chinese military targeted other vessels in the disputed sea, but earlier in August last year, it had made similar attempts to counter vessels of other countries. However, this was the first incident when Beijing had used the latest military-grade laser technology against any country.  

Besides, the developments are also believed to be stunning as both nations share "friendly relationships", with former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his successor, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., meeting Chinese leader Xi Jinping in January this year.

China responds to allegations 

Meanwhile, China, on the other hand, acknowledged the claims made by Manila but added Philippine coast guard vessel trespassed into Chinese waters "without permission". "Chinese coast guard vessels responded professionally and with restraint at the site in accordance with China’s law and international law,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in response to the claims. However, he did not mention whether the Chinese military uses laser technology or not. 

Also Read: China to shoot down unidentified object flying over its waters, says report

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