A Philippine Navy vessel warned off a China Navy vessel for conducting "dangerous maneuvers" off Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea, the military said Sunday.
In a statement, Armed Forces public affairs chief Lieutenant Colonel Enrico Ileto said that on Friday, October 13, the BRP Benguet (LS507) issued consecutive radio challenges to China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy Ship 621 (PLAN 621), which was shadowing the Philippine Navy vessel at an 80-yard distance.
PLAN 621 also tried to cross LS507's bow with a closest point of approach (CPA) of 350 yards at 5.8 nautical miles southwest of Pag-asa Island, Ileto said.
The Benguet had been on its way to Rizal Reef Station on a regular rotation and resupply (RoRe) mission.
Ileto said the crew cited the Chinese vessel's violation of the Collision Regulations (COLREG) in its radio challenges, and that PLAN 621 responded by citing its "ten-dash line" narrative.
The ten-dash line refers to a new map that China has issued that shows its claims over nearly the entirety of the South China Sea, Taiwan, and a state in India.
"These [dangerous] maneuvers pose significant risks to maritime safety, collision prevention, and danger to human lives at sea. China must immediately halt these unsafe actions and conduct themselves in a professional manner by adhering to international law," the statement quoted Western Command (WesCom) chief Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos as saying.
AFP chief General Romeo Brawner Jr. also said that China's maneuvers endanger both Philippine and Chinese personnel.
"These dangerous and offensive maneuvers by China's PLAN not only risk collision but also directly endanger the lives of maritime personnel from both sides," Brawner said.
He added that the AFP "remains committed to ensuring the safety of its personnel during RoRe missions and asserts that it will continue to adhere to the rules-based international order." — BM/KBK, GMA Integrated News