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Resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal ‘flawless’ —AFP

The latest rotation and resupply mission for BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal was a success and "flawless," the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Friday.

“Mission accomplished!” AFP spokesperson Colonel Francel Margareth Padilla said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

“Today, we executed a flawless rotation and resupply operation for BRP Sierra Madre. Teamwork, precision, and dedication at its best,” she added.

American maritime security analyst  Ray Powell noted that AFP’s latest resupply mission was “very different” as China’s usual blockade hasn't materialized.

All China’s militia vessels were staying back by Mischief Reef, according to Powell.

“Whatever deal the two sides made in Shanghai may have dialed down China's aggression (for now),” said Powell, who was also a former United States Air Force official and ex-Defense Attaché.

“The Philippines' resupply of BRP Sierra Madre at 2nd Thomas Shoal today seems to have encountered virtually no resistance from China. Of course there are certainly AIS-dark vessels we can't see (e.g., CCG 5203) but those we can detect have kept their distance,” he added.

BRP Sierra Madre has been grounded at the Ayungin Shoal since 1999. It is manned by more than a dozen Marines and sailors. It has become a symbol of Philippine sovereignty in the offshore territory.

Ayungin Shoal is part of the Kalayaan Island Group as well as the Philippines' exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

Resupply missions to the BRP Sierra Madre have become increasingly difficult as Chinese vessels have been disrupting the passage of Philippine vessels to the area.

China claims most of the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated China's claim in a ruling on a case brought by the Philippines, which Beijing rejects.—AOL, GMA Integrated News