PH considers changing strategy amid China’s increasing aggression in WPS

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 13) — The Philippines is looking into implementing new tactics during its operations in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) as China exhibits more aggressive actions against the country's vessels.

“We are also considering a change of strategy,” NSC spokesperson Jonathan Malaya told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Wednesday.

Manila's successful resupply mission on Sept. 8 did not happen without Chinese boats first attempting to block Philippine vessels on the way to the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal. 

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) said the China Coast Guard and Chinese maritime militia ships continued to harass Philippine vessels by conducting dangerous maneuvers and exhibiting aggressive conduct.

Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Jay Tarriela also told CNN Philippines that the CCG deployed mostly smaller boats that they could easily maneuver to prevent Philippine vessels from advancing. 

Aside from changing strategy, Malaya said among the options being considered by authorities is the deployment of more patrol ships in the WPS.

While authorities are weighing their options, he emphasized that resupply missions will continue and “we will not stop fighting for what is ours.”

“We just hope in the future that China will also reciprocate our sincere calls for them to reduce tensions and allow the peaceful resupply of our vessels,” he added.

Malaya also said they already recommended that the Department of Foreign Affairs file a diplomatic protest in relation to the latest incident.