Swedish defence chief says actions against Philippines in South China Sea threaten global security

by Admin
Swedish defence chief says actions against Philippines in South China Sea threaten global security

MANILA, Philippines: Sweden’s defence chief has expressed alarm over Beijing’s repeated dangerous manoeuvres against Philippine vessels in the South China Sea, saying such actions threaten security, undermine stability and underscore the need to invest ‘for our security and freedom”.

Defence Minister Pal Jonson spoke Thursday night (Jun 6) in a diplomatic reception in Manila for Sweden’s national day after meeting his Philippine counterpart, Gilberto Teodoro Jr, on expanding defence relations. Sweden is one of the possible sources of supersonic fighter jets that the Philippines plans to acquire as its military shifts focus from decades of fighting insurgencies to territorial defence.

“Let me express my deep concern on the repeated dangerous manoeuvres against Philippines vessels that have been taking place in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, Jonson said. He did not mention China in his speech but drew applause from an audience that included top Philippine military and security officials and Western and Asian diplomats.

Jonson used the name the Philippines has adopted for the stretch of waters called the exclusive economic zone extending from its western coast to the South China Sea, which Beijing claims virtually in its entirety and guarded closely with its coast guard, navy and other ships.

Confrontations between Chinese and Philippine government ships over two disputed shoals have flared alarmingly since last year, causing collisions.

China’s use of powerful water cannons had damaged Philippine vessels, injured several Filipino navy personnel, and strained diplomatic relations. Manila has filed diplomatic protests and publicised Chinese actions against the Philippine coast guard and navy vessels in an effort to gain international support.

“These acts put human lives at risk, they undermine regional stability and international law and they threaten the security in the region and beyond,” Jonson said. “These are not only threats to your national security but threats to our common global security.”

The Philippines coast guard belatedly reported on Friday that one of its high-speed boats was blocked and surrounded by Chinese coast guard vessels as it approached a Philippine territorial outpost in the Second Thomas Shoal on May 19 to get a sick Filipino military sailor from a navy boat deployed near the shoal outpost.

“Despite informing the Chinese coast guard via radio and public address system about the humanitarian nature of our mission for medical evacuation, they still engaged in dangerous manoeuvres and even intentionally rammed the Philippine navy boat while transporting the sick personnel, the Philippine coast guard said. Despite the dangerous blockings, the Philippine coast guard said the medical evacuation was carried out successfully.

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