Philippines Denounces China’s Coast Guard Rules as Provocation

MANILA – Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro criticized China’s newly issued rules governing its Coast Guard operations in the South China Sea on May 24, describing them as a provocation and a matter of international concern.

China, which has ongoing maritime sovereignty disputes with the Philippines and other claimant countries in the South China Sea, recently introduced rules to enforce a 2021 law allowing its Coast Guard to fire on foreign vessels under certain conditions.

“Such behavior is not only a violation of UNCLOS, but also a violation of precepts the UN charter which lays upon each responsible state the duty to refrain from the use of force or aggression to enforce, particularly in this case, illegal territorial claims in the maritime domain,” Teodoro stated during a speech at the Philippine Navy’s anniversary. “That is a provocation insofar as I am concerned,” he added.

In recent months, the Philippines and China have experienced several maritime confrontations in the South China Sea. Incidents included the use of water cannons by Chinese Coast Guard vessels, which resulted in damage to Philippine boats and injuries to their crew members.

Addressing the concerns, the Chinese Foreign Ministry stated this week that the new rules are intended to protect maritime order and emphasized that there is no need for alarm if there is no illegal behavior by the parties involved.

The Philippines’ condemnation of China’s Coast Guard rules highlights the escalating tensions in the South China Sea, where multiple nations contest China’s expansive territorial claims. The international community remains watchful of the developments, which have significant implications for regional stability and maritime security.