China has been deploying its assets to prevent Filipino operations, both patrols, and rotation and reprovision missions in the West Philippine Sea.
In mid-February, the Philippine Navy’s BRP Conrado Yap, the Southeast Asian country’s first modern corvette, detected a radar contact of a gray-colored vessel, which was later identified as a Chinese warship with bow number 514.
The incident occurred when the Philippine ship BRP Conrado Yap was on its way to the Rizal Reef Detachment in the South China Sea when it had detected a radar contact of a gray-colored vessel.
The Philippines’ defense downplayed China’s aggressive action in the West Philippines Sea, saying it appeared that Chinese sailors had no real intention of hurting Filipinos when they pointed the radar at a Philippine navy ship.
Lorenzana issued the statement several days after the Philippine foreign office said it had filed a diplomatic protest with China for pointing a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship in the EEZ.
In April, China announced the creation of two new districts to administer the disputed Paracel and the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The country had taken action on April 22, the same day it filed a separate diplomatic note to protest Beijing’s declaration of parts of the disputed sea as Chinese districts.
In 2019 alone, the country’s defense secretary reported that China fired warning flares six times at Philippine military planes conducting maritime patrols near the artificial islands controlled by China in the West Philippine Sea early this year. China also deployed 17 research vessels in Philippine waters from January to June 2019.
China issued the warning flares against Philippine military aircraft flying over the disputed waters for six times in February, based on an AFP report on the West Philippine Sea situation for the first half of the year 2019.
The act of aggression is just one of China’s series in the disputed waters in recent weeks just as Southeast Asian neighbors, many of them rival claimants to territory within the resource-rich waters — struggle to deal with the pandemic.