The Philippines’ flaccid response to the grounded Chinese warship within its claimed territory

So finally a Chinese warship that had run aground in Half Moon Shoal (known as Hasa-Hasa Shoal to the Philippine Government) had been “rescued” and “refloated” by other Chinese navy vessels that had come to its rescue. The rescue party reportedly consisted of “at least five vessels and several smaller boats” freed the People’s Liberation Army vessel, a “103.2-meter, 1,425-ton Jianghu-class frigate” said to have been patrolling the West Philippine Sea within an area claimed by the Philippines as part of its territory.

According to international maritime law, the Philippines is required to come to the assistance of distressed vessels within its territory. The Chinese warship with bow number 560 was first spotted by Philippine Air Force reconnaissance planes last week. At the time Foreign Department spokesman Raul Hernandez said that the Philippines would come to the assistance of the ship if requested by China.

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Distressed or not, one would think though that a Chinese warship found to be sailing without permission in waters claimed by the Philippines would attract far swifter action than a civilian official announcing that they are waiting for a call for help from China. Back in March 2012, the Japanese government had also protested incursion of a Chinese vessel into its territorial waters but issued far stronger words…

A Japanese Foreign ministry official said at a briefing Friday that the ship, the Haijian 50, that morning entered Japanese territorial water near the Senkaku islands—called the Daioyu islands by China—despite repeated warnings by a Japanese patrol boat. The spokesman said Japan’s vice foreign minister summoned China’s ambassador to the foreign ministry to protest the matter as “extremely serious” and “unacceptable.”

For its part, the Chinese government also consistently makes its position on foreign military vessels sailing within its waters quite clear as evident in an incident in May 2009 when US surveillance ship USNS Victorious was spotted within China’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ)…

“The fact is that the USNS Victorious conducted activities in China’s exclusive economic zone in the Yellow Sea without China’s permission. China has expressed concern over this issue,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement. “We demand that the United States take effective measures to prevent similar acts from happening,” Ma said.

In June 2004, to give another example, the Iranian government apprehended and detained eight British military personnel aboard vessels that had allegedly “crossed into Iran’s territorial waters”.

The ministry said the Iranian Navy confiscated weapons and maps along with the ships when the vessels were stopped Monday. The crew members were being interrogated, the ministry said.

Iranian media Tuesday also reported that Tehran might put the eight on trial.

“They will be prosecuted for illegally entering Iranian territorial waters,” Iran’s state-run Arabic language Al-Alam television reported.

While the application of international law and agreed conventions around the use of military and diplomatic responses surrounding these different circumstances remain debatable, the common denominator across all of these incidents is the show of conviction and assertiveness in the manner with which these crises are managed. Of course to aspire to such virtues is easier said than done in a country that lacks the actual military hardware and martial tradition to back its claims.

11 Replies to “The Philippines’ flaccid response to the grounded Chinese warship within its claimed territory”

  1. can you provide documentation/proof about the capability and readiness of our armed forces that you can call it barely above parade level?

    no? i thought so.

    1. Isn’t it obvious? Our most advanced warship is a former USCG cutter–brown-water intended, mind you!–with most of its weaponry removed. Our air force is more “air” than “force.” Our army is hurting for materiel–materiel that would have made losses in places like Basilan and general inadequacies in COIN (COunterINsurgency) Ops a thing of the past. If PH and any of her neighbors were to slug it out militarily, we’d most likely have our rear ends handed to us in short order. In other words, our defensive capabilities are woefully inadequate, and every time someone tries to answer that, the Dirty Commies would have a hissy fit that would make a woman in the red (no offense, ladies) look tame. There’s no need to ask for proof–it’s right before our very eyes. If it wasn’t for international relations, we would have been at the mercy of a foreign invader before I was born.

    2. Our Generals are mostly political appointees. They’ve never fought any conventional war. I doubt, if Noynoy Aquino can fight a war…duwag siya…

  2. And they said it would be smooth sailing when they booted the Yanks off the bases. You reap what you sow, Philippine government.

  3. Unauthorized incursion of foreign warships in Philippine territorial waters, is already a serious provocation. Many provocations of the Chinese has occured. However, Noynoy Aquino is very much afraid to respond. It’s like what he did, during the Mendoza Hostage incident at the Luneta. That resulted in the murder of Chinese tourists. This President, Noynoy Aquino, cannot stand any conflict, or stress in any crissis…He cannot fight a war. Good only in prosecuting his helpless political enemies. When his enemies can fight back: He Hides…or do nothing…

  4. Philippine military are so incapable to even apply their own authorities to its own people & country, not alone try to apply their mediocre capability to others. What ashame.

  5. Kowtowing to Beijing. This was one of PersiNoynoy first “break-of-tradition” action when PersiNoynoy said “Sir, yes sir!!!” when Beijing communicated to Malakanyang that Pilipinas should not attend the Oslo Peace Prize Ceremonies.

  6. When the military is not busy running scared against the MILF and NPA, they are busy terrorizing helpless civilians who can’t fight back. Want proof? Just go to places controlled by the military.

  7. By all rights we should’ve detained the crew of that PLAN ship and “interrogated” them for what in God’s name they are doing inside our maritime territory but instead we do what? We even turn the other cheek for them to kiss goodbye at.

    And seeing that some-Juan-dela-Cruz DND spokesperson with a Ph.D to boot make excuses as to what are the probable circumstances why that ship ran aground in the first place on national tv tuesday morning makes me cringe. We not only let them off the hook easily, we even cover up for their own sorry asses? Pardon me but this is just the height of lunacy that our DND can ever portray itself with.

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