The Government of the Philippines has flipped into the Chinese orbit, but it doesn’t mean that Communist China isn’t behaving badly toward them. An article in Radio Free Asia outlines a recent incident.
For those of you who don’t know, turning fire control radar on, to lock onto a ship or an aircraft is an act of war. It’s just like shooting the gun or missile. The Chinese do it for fun, and did it to the Philippines yesterday. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Philippine ship BRP Conrado Yap was on its way to the Rizal Reef Detachment in the South China Sea within the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone when it reported that it had detected “a radar contact of a gray-colored vessel.” It was a People’s Liberation Army’s Navy ship and it immediately locked on a laser designator.
Lorenzana said the Chinese had used a target-acquisition laser meant to guide a missile toward an enemy target. “It’s like when they will use their missile they will first strike on the target that they have already marked,” Lorenzana said.
The incident was the latest accusation that Chinese forces had used lasers to harass other nations’ naval personnel.
In February this year, the U.S. Navy accused a Chinese naval destroyer of firing a laser beam at a U.S. surveillance aircraft flying west of Guam and over the Philippine Sea, which lies far to the north and east of the South China Sea.
A statement from U.S. Pacific Fleet said the laser, which was detected by sensors on the P-8A Poseidon aircraft on Feb. 17, was not visible to the naked eye. The U.S. Navy described the Chinese move as an act deemed unsafe and a violation of international codes and agreements.
Retired Philippine Supreme Court judge Antonio Carpio told foreign correspondents in Manila that the Philippines should join forces with neighbors Vietnam and Malaysia, and possibly other countries, in conducting joint patrols to deter further Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. Doing so, he said, would send “a message that China cannot pick us out one by one.”
On Tuesday, Beijing sent an aircraft battle group through the Miyako Strait, between Japan and Taiwan, according to a news release from the Japanese defense ministry. The release said China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning was spotted moving with two frigates, two destroyers and a high-speed support ship toward the East China Sea.
Meanwhile, the People’s Liberation Army-Navy Southern Theater released a statement on Tuesday accusing the USS Barry of violating China’s territory in the Paracel Islands.
China claims most of the South China Sea on historical grounds, including areas that reach the shores of its smaller neighbors. Apart from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims over the region.