Philippines Labels China an 'Aggressor' Amid Tensions in South China Sea

    Photo: Jes Aznar [via Getty Images]

    The Facts

    • As relations between the Philippines and Beijing deteriorate, the Southeast Asian US ally on Monday accused Chinese coastguard warships of "intentionally" colliding with two vessels while on a resupply mission in the disputed area near the Second Thomas Shoal — part of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

    • Although no one was harmed, the incident in which a Chinese Coast Guard vessel collided with a small wooden Philippine resupply boat, sparked international outrage and expressions of concern from the US.

    The Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    The PRC's activities in the South China Sea gravely undermine universally-recognized naval provisions under international law. Illegitimate activities include the deployment of China's so-called maritime militia in the waters near the Philippines, which harass and provoke Philippine fishermen and swarm parts of the sea within Manila's exclusive economic zone. Washington has rightfully stepped up its rhetoric and diplomatic efforts to challenge Beijing's provocative moves.

    Pro-China narrative

    The PRC has a historical claim over the South China Sea, and it's regulation of military activities in waters that are part of its exclusive economic zone is consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea regulations. Washington is arbitrarily interpreting the convention, using political manipulation and double standards to provoke China for its own selfish interests.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 15% chance that China and the US will be at war before 2035, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



    More neutral establishment stance articles

    Sign up to our daily newsletter