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)
Russia is a wild card in China/Philippines relationships in the South China Sea. https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/12/18/russias_growing_interests_in_the_south_china_sea_114932.html
China Coast Guard pushing the Philippines in South China Sea. https://www.eurasiareview.com/12042020-china-sends-coast-guard-ship-to-scarborough-shoal/
More here: http://www.eaglespeak.us/2020/04/south-china-sea-political-mess-summed-up.html
View from PACOM https://ipdefenseforum.com/2021/02/ccps-controversial-coast-guard-law-a-verbal-threat-of-war/
“What Are China’s Leaders Saying About the South China Sea?”https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2021/02/24/what_are_chinas_leaders_saying_about_the_south_china_sea_661600.html
220 Chinese Militia Vessels Invade Philippines EEZ https://gcaptain.com/chinese-militia-philippines-eez/?fbclid=IwAR3ldCiaKHCj3Q3OOxMbvyMiKEX28Fq62ts8gtF3cSChWXDjwxDVrtK8YlM
Another version of the story. https://gcaptain.com/philippines-protests-threatening-presence-of-chinese-vessels-in-disputed-south-china-sea-waters/
More construction by the Chinese. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3126656/south-china-sea-beijing-has-extended-another-spratly-islands
Chinese Ship Deployment Roils South China Sea https://www.npr.org/2021/03/26/981668318/chinese-ship-deployment-roils-south-china-sea
Philippines Sends Fighter Planes To Buzz Chinese Coast Guard https://gcaptain.com/philippines-chinese-cg-ships/
A new Chinese move to steal another piece of the Philippines EEZ and set up a military outpost. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-05/china-tests-biden-with-south-china-sea-tactic-that-misled-obama
China, looking for mineral wealth in the EEZ of other countries.
USN backing for the Philippines https://news.usni.org/2021/04/09/u-s-carrier-strike-group-amphibious-warships-massed-in-south-china-sea-as-regional-tensions-simmer
Looks like the Philippines may have moved forcefully. https://news.usni.org/2021/04/13/officials-the-philippines-expanding-south-china-sea-patrols-near-disputed-reef?utm_source=USNI+News&utm_campaign=eceaac05f9-USNI_NEWS_DAILY&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0dd4a1450b-eceaac05f9-230448833&mc_cid=eceaac05f9&mc_eid=e873a959e6
Philippines seems to be taking a harder line. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/philippines-tells-china-to-back-off-its-exercises-in-south-china-sea-says-there-s-no-basis-to-stop-them/ar-BB1g9rIy?ocid=msedgntp
“GET THE **** OUT – Philippines Foreign Minister Issues Expletive-Laced Tweet Over South China Sea Dispute”
Philippine President seems to be standing up to the Chinese. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/philippines-duterte-says-he-won-t-withdraw-ships-from-contested-waters/ar-BB1gKGvS?ocid=msedgntp
Philippines claimed to have confronted a Chinese CG vessel. https://www.ibtimes.com/south-china-sea-heats-philippine-coast-guard-challenges-intruding-chinese-warship-3255559
“China issues new maritime rules to regulate foreign ships in its waters
“The new rules are expected to increase tensions if China strictly enforces them in the disputed South China Sea and the Taiwan straits where the US and its allies have been conducting naval expeditions.”
Are China And Russia Trying To Attack The Law Of The Sea? https://www.19fortyfive.com/2021/08/are-china-and-russia-trying-to-attack-the-law-of-the-sea/
Philippines is standing up for their rights. https://ipdefenseforum.com/2021/12/philippines-tells-prc-to-back-off-after-south-china-sea-standoff/
Legal Brief. https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2022/02/07/navigating_the_limits_in_the_south_china_sea_815505.html
“Philippine Coast Guard Accuses China Of ‘Close Distance Maneuvering’ In Disputed Sea” https://gcaptain.com/philippine-coast-guard-accuses-china-of-close-distance-maneuvering-in-disputed-sea/
China Coast Guard threating to shoulder a much smaller Philippine Coast Guard vessel. The Chinese cutter is almost 3500 tons. https://www.argoinitiative.com/post/zhaoyu-class-patrol-ship
The Philippine cutter is Japanese built, 44 meters in length. Smaller than the Webber class FRCs.
More than 5000 now occupy Chinese man made islands. https://ipdefenseforum.com/2022/10/report-more-than-5000-chinese-military-personnel-live-on-south-china-sea-islands/
New photos of artificial islands. https://ipdefenseforum.com/2022/11/new-photos-show-prcs-modified-reefs-rocks-are-highly-developed-military-bases/