Philippine Coast Guard ‘blinded’ by Chinese Laserlight, Philippines
According to Philippine officials, a very powerful green laser light was fired directly at the Philippine Coast Guard from a Chinese ship. The Manila government strongly protested against the incident from Beijing
Officials in the Philippines say Chinese navy personnel temporarily blinded a team of Philippine coast guardsmen using a high-powered laser light. According to officials, the incident took place on Monday, February 14, in the disputed South China Sea. The Chinese coast guard fired a “military-grade laser light” from one of its ships, temporarily blinding some crew members of a Philippine ship, according to the Manila government.
The Philippine Coast Guard was on board the ship Sierra Madre, which the Manila government has deployed to the Spartel Islands to assert its territorial claims.
According to the Philippine Coast Guard, “The deliberate interception of Philippine government vessels to deliver food and supplies to our military personnel aboard the Sierra Madre is a flagrant violation of Philippine sovereignty rights in this part of the West Philippine Sea.” He added that his ocean patrol boat was assisting in a “resupply mission” when a Chinese coast guard vessel flashed a green laser light on the bridge of the Philippine vessel.
Authorities also accused the Chinese ship of using “dangerous tactics” within 150 meters of the Philippine ship. “The Philippine Coast Guard will continue to work diligently to protect the country’s territorial integrity against foreign aggression,” Philippine Admiral Artemio Abu said. China has not yet commented on the claims.
Keep in mind that there are frequent incidents of tension between China and the Philippines in this maritime area, and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited the Philippines at the beginning of this month. During this visit, four new military agreements were signed between Washington and Manila. After these agreements, the number of military agreements between the two countries has reached nine.
The Austin visit and the agreement came after months of high-level talks between the US and the Philippines. The purpose of the talks was to improve relations between the two countries and deal with the growing threat of China. There has been an increase in Chinese activity in the South China Sea, an area claimed by the Philippines.