torsdag 20. juni 2024

US reputation on the line at Second Thomas Shoal

Taiwan, Ukraine and Gaza get most of the attention these days. But the United States’ reputation as a reliable ally is nowhere more at stake than in the Philippines. And that reputation is on the verge of going down the drain.

June 17 saw the most recent and most violent effort yet by the China Coast Guard to prevent the Philippines from resupplying the BNP Sierra Madre, an old navy ship deliberately grounded on Second Thomas Shoal and manned by a detachment of sailors and marines to assert Philippine control of the sea feature. This shouldn’t be necessary since Second Thomas Shoal is well within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). However, China also claims ownership and has been interfering with Philippine Coast Guard and Navy resupply efforts with increasing force.

This time, brandishing knives, axes and spears, flashing lasers and using sound weapons and ramming against outnumbered Philippine boats, the Chinese reportedly seriously injured a Philippine sailor, damaged and seized Philippine boats and seized property.