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CHINA’S SOUTH CHINA SEA STRATEGY AND PHILIPPINE RESISTANCE



  May 27, 2024

CHINA’S SOUTH CHINA SEA STRATEGY AND PHILIPPINE RESISTANCE



What is the Second Thomas Shoal and why is it significant?

The Second Thomas Shoal is a contested area in the South China Sea, central to the dispute between China and the Philippines. It has become a flashpoint due to China’s strategic activities and efforts to assert control through ‘grey zone’ tactics.

What are ‘grey zone’ activities?

‘Grey zone’ activities refer to covert, non-military tactics used to achieve strategic goals without direct conflict. These include coercive actions by the China Coast Guard (CCG) and the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia to assert control over disputed areas.

How has China attempted to control the Second Thomas Shoal?

Since 2013, China has employed various tactics including land reclamation, routine patrols by the CCG, and obstructing Philippine resupply missions to the BRP Sierra Madre outpost. These efforts intensified from 2022, with aggressive maneuvers and incidents involving water cannons and collisions.

What were the major incidents in 2023?

In 2023, significant confrontations included a CCG vessel using a military-grade laser on a Philippine ship, multiple water cannon attacks, and dangerous maneuvers leading to collisions. These actions escalated tensions between China and the Philippines.

Has China succeeded in its objectives?

Despite aggressive tactics, China’s efforts to sever supplies to the BRP Sierra Madre outpost have failed. Philippine resupply missions have continued successfully, and public and international support for the Philippines has grown.

How has the Philippines responded to China’s actions?

The Philippines has increased transparency by publicizing Chinese activities and documenting incidents. This has bolstered public support for sovereignty measures and attracted international attention and support.

What impact has this had on international relations?

International reactions to China’s actions, including statements from the European Union and other nations, have expressed solidarity with the Philippines. This has increased international pressure on China and strengthened Filipino influence globally.

How have these developments affected Filipino public opinion?

Public skepticism towards China has increased, with many Filipinos favoring alignment with the United States. Surveys show growing support for the Philippine government’s response to the South China Sea dispute.

What are the strategic implications for the Philippines?

The Philippines has strengthened ties with the United States and regional partners like Japan and Australia. This includes bolstering defense capabilities and participation in trilateral security agreements, enhancing its strategic position.

What might China consider in light of these developments?

China’s continued aggressive actions could provoke a stronger international response, including the potential invocation of the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty. This could involve regional powers, increasing the stakes for China in the South China Sea dispute.



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