This was the attack with sticks, axes and knives by Chinese agents against Filipino soldiers due to the dispute over the waters of the South Sea

The Philippines and China are getting closer to an open conflict for their territorial disputes in the South Sea, known to Manila as the West Philippine Sea. In the last few hours, the Philippine authorities have released images of the assault by Chinese coast guard agents against ships of the Philippine Navy. In the video coast guard appears with sticks, knives and an ax engaging Philippine warships near the Spratly strategic reef, a series of islets whose sovereignty is claimed by several countries in the region and which has been the focus of confrontation in recent months between Beijing and Manila. The Asian giant claims sovereignty over 90% of the waters of the aforementioned sea against its neighbors and a ruling by the Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2016.

The latest confrontation came to blows and took place on Monday when Philippine forces were attempting to resupply their Marines stationed on an old abandoned warship deliberately anchored in the Second Thomas Atoll. Footage released by the Philippine military shows small boats manned by Chinese sailors shouting, waving knives and using sticks to hit an inflatable boat while a siren sounds.

According to Manila, in the incident, a Filipino sailor lost his thumb while the Chinese coast guard confiscated and destroyed military equipment, including several weapons that were on board the vessels.

Spratly IslandsTania NietoThe reason

He Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Romeo Brawner Jr, accused Beijing of “piracy” for this episode. “They have no right or legal authority to pirate our operations and destroy Philippine ships operating within our exclusive economic zone. “They are acting like pirates”said Brawner Jr, according to Bloomberg.

The Chinese version

Meanwhile, China has defended its Coast Guard’s response to stop the “illegal” resupply of this settlement as “professional and moderate” and has denied that they took “direct measures” against Philippine Army personnel. “What directly led to this situation is the Philippines’ stance of ignoring China’s deterrence measures,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian said Wednesday, urging Manila to immediately stop “its violations and provocations”. “The Philippines keeps saying they were sending essential items, but secretly they have been trying to send construction materials and even weapons and ammunition to the stranded warship,” Lin explained.

US support for Manila

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated his country’s “strong commitment” to the defense of the Philippines. Blinken condemned China’s “dangerous and irresponsible actions” during a phone call with his Filipino counterpart, Enrique A.Manalo, the day before, according to a statement from the US State Department. The head of American diplomacy emphasized that China’s maneuvers “erode regional peace” and reiterated his country’s “iron commitment” to the Philippines, with which it has maintained a Mutual Defense Treaty for decades.

What The Hague says

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in favor of China in its territorial dispute in the South China Sea due to the fight between Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, China and Brunei over the sovereignty of the Spratlys. a dispute that has increased tensions in a vital area for world trade since Nearly five billion euros pass through its maritime routes every year. It is also an area rich in natural resources and the scene of the growing geostrategic rivalry between China and the United States in the Asia Pacific.

The decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration is binding on all nations that signed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, although China, which signed it in 1996, “does not recognize or accept it.”