Chinese Vessels Swarm in the South China Sea

Chinese vessels are aggressively swarming areas of the South China Sea that belong to the Philippines, according to a statement from United States Department of State spokesperson Ned Price on December 19.

The reported escalating swarms of [People’s Republic of China] vessels in the vicinity of Iroquois Reef and Sabina Shoal in the Spratly Islands interfere with the livelihoods of Philippine fishing communities, and also reflect continuing disregard for other South China Sea claimants and states lawfully operating in the region.
Ned Price

The Chinese Embassy in Manila dismissed the claims by saying, “It is only natural for neighbors to have differences.”

How it began: On November 20, Chinese Coast Guard vessels confiscated debris of a Chinese rocket that Philippine Navy vessels had discovered about 500 meters off the coast of its Thitu Island in the Spratly Island chain.

  • Philippine Navy boats had been towing the debris back to land when it was blocked twice by Chinese ships.
  • Chinese personnel cut the Philippines’ towing line from inflatable boats deployed by the larger Coast Guard vessel.
  • The Philippine military did not retaliate for fear of escalating the situation.

Encroaching vessels: Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos of the Western Command of the Philippine Navy stated on December 6 that Chinese vessels have been encroaching on the Philippine’s exclusive economic zone (eez).

  • The vessels have been spotted between 150 to 80 miles off the Philippines, which is well within the 230-mile eez.
  • Satellite images have shown anywhere from two to 30 Chinese boats at a time.
  • The area is rich in oil and gas and is considered a “militia hot spot.”

The Trumpet said: For years the Trumpet has been warning that China will continue to intrude and seize more of the South China Sea because it is prophesied in the Bible. Isaiah 23 shows that China will be a lead power over a “mart of nations” that controls the world’s shipping lanes and sea gates (see also Deuteronomy 28:52). *In 2016, editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote:

Each year, $5.3 trillion of trade passes through the South China Sea. That is roughly one third of the world’s maritime commerce! …

Since before the Korean War, China has had a strategy to establish a security buffer extending far from its coast and engulfing the entire South China Sea. …

China is intimidating the nations of Southeast Asia into submission to its will. It is forcing these countries to do what it wants.

Learn more: Read “China Is Steering the World Toward War.”