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IPFS News Link • China

Pacific on the Edge of War as Chinese Naval Forces Board and Seize Military Boats of Philippine...

•, By Jared Harris

The Pacific appears increasingly nearer to war as Chinese vessels encircled and boarded military resupply boats belonging to a key American ally.

Tensions erupted as the Chinese Coast Guard seized ships of a Philippine Navy resupply mission that was underway near the Second Thomas Shoal. The Armed Forces of the Philippines revealed pictures of the Monday confrontation in a social media post, calling the attack "coercive, aggressive, and barbaric."

The shallow reef, also known as Ayungin Shoal, is part of the South China Sea's Spratly Islands, one of the many areas in the region claimed by Beijing.

The Philippine military was resupplying a tank landing ship, the BRP Sierra Madre, which was intentionally run aground on a reef just off the disputed shoal in 1999 to bolster the country's claim on the island.

Although likely not even remotely seaworthy at this point, the Sierra Madre remains an actively crewed commissioned vessel of the Philippine Navy.

China has similarly fortified its claims on the area, deploying missiles to some of the islands in 2018.

Videos show the resupply mission turning to blows as China became involved. In one clip, Chinese sailors could be seen waving and swinging axes, machetes and other melee weapons as the boats closed in to become a chaotic mass.