Philippines and China in Standoff–former USCGC Center Stage

Photo credit, NASA Landsat 7 image of Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea

The former USCGC Hamilton, now BRP Gregorio del Pilar, is at the center of a standoff with the Chinese over a remote atoll shaped group of rocks and shallows called variously Scarborough (or Panatag) Reef or Shoal.

Both the Chinese and the Philippines claim sovereignty.

A Philippine patrol plane located eight Chinese fishing vessels inside the atoll. With the Gregorio del Pilar now on scene, two Chinese Maritime Surveillance vessels are blocking Philippine fisheries enforcement action against the fishing vessels and the Chinese are demanding the Philippine Navy depart their waters; while the Philippines is asserting it will enforce its sovereignty. Diplomacy is given lip service, but the standoff is ongoing. The US has a treaty obligation to the Philippines (subject to interpretation of course) and there are calls for US assistance.

A long discussion from the Philippine point of view here.

Photo: Philippine flag planted on Scarborough Shoal, Photographed by Adel Rosario, 05:11, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

File:Panatag Shoal.jpg

354 thoughts on “Philippines and China in Standoff–former USCGC Center Stage

  1. I know commercial and military shipbuilding is very different but it is still ironic that the worlds 4th largest shipbuilder needs 40 year old hand me down cutters turned frigates.

    • They are getting new light frigates (something really close to the OPC) from India and they are getting some new construction small LPD like ships from Indonesia.

  2. China has depleted the fisheries in their own waters, now they are moving on to overfish their neighbors. because after all it is traditional.
    When fishing was less efficient this may not have been a problem, but now, there is the potential to completely destroy an ecosystem.

  3. Not unexpectedly, the Permanent Court of Arbitration has ruled in favor of the Philippines. The following is a quote from the BryMar website.

    “Various media outlets are reporting that the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has ruled in favor of the Philippines in its dispute with the People’s Republic of China regarding the status of major portions of the South China Sea. Unfortunately, the Court’s internet site is currently unavailable (possibly due to high use or to malicious access denial). According to the available reports, the ruling found that China has no right to block the access of Philippine fishermen to waters with 200 nautical miles of the Philippines and that its construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea is improper and causes severe harm to the environment. China contends that the Court has no jurisdiction regarding this dispute. (7/12/16) [].”

  4. “It seems if the People’s Republic of China is going to make a push to radically alter the status-quo in the South China Sea—by reclaiming the hotly disputed Scarborough Shoal that is clearly within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines—we now have a good idea of when that might happen: sometime between early September, after the G-20 summit being hosted in China, and the U.S. presidential election on November 8th”.

  5. From the German Navy blog, Marine Forum: 12 March, “CHINA, Local media report on Chinese Navy plans to increase strentgth of marine corps from currently 20,000 to about 100,000 … already added two brigades of “special combat soldiers” … sources claim some of the new naval infantry units may be based in Gwadar (Pakistan) and in Djibouti (rmks; which remains to be seen …)”

    For comparison, the US Marine Corps has about 182,000 active members.

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