Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) analysis has revealed a concerning maritime blockade, with multiple Philippine Coast Guard vessels encountering obstruction from Chinese counterparts en route to the disputed region around the strategically crucial Second Thomas Shoal.
The Philippines has strongly condemned China’s actions, accusing them of engaging in unwarranted coercion and hazardous maneuvers during the encounter. The incident occurred as Philippine vessels were en route to the Second Thomas Shoal for routine resupply and rotation, a region contested by both nations.
Reports indicate that Chinese vessels obstructed the passage of Philippine vessels, employing water cannons to alter their approach to the shoal.
Combining Planet imagery with AIS data, AllSource, an expert in geospatial analysis, has documented the ongoing blockade and a significant deployment of both Chinese Coast Guard and Militia vessels in the vicinity of the Second Thomas Shoal.
Gan Yu, the spokesperson for China Coast Guard, issued a statement on Friday, addressing the unauthorized activities of Philippine vessels in the South China Sea.
According to Gan, on November 10, two small transport vessels and three coast guard ships from the Philippines entered the waters adjacent to Ren’ai Reef, part of China’s Nansha Islands, without permission. The Chinese coast guard claimed to have monitored and taken control measures according to the law, implementing temporary special arrangements for the transportation of necessary supplies by the Philippine side.
Emphasizing China’s indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands, including Ren’ai Reef and its surrounding waters, Gan declared that the actions of the Philippine vessels infringed upon China’s territorial sovereignty. He argued that the actions also violated the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and contradicted the Philippines’ own commitments.
Gan asserted that the Chinese Coast Guard would continue to enforce law in the region to safeguard national sovereignty and maritime rights, maintaining that their activities are within the waters under China’s jurisdiction.