China’s state-run paper urges gov’t to “tow away or sink” BRP Sierra Madre

  • China’s state-run Global Times urged its government to take drastic steps to end the standoff in the West Philippine Sea
  • It suggested that the Chinese military should tow or sink the stranded BRP Sierra Madre
  • It also urged Beijing to warn Manila that the crisis was caused by Philippine Navy capturing Chinese fishermen in the area

MANILA, Philippines – With only a few days left before the international court in The Hague, Netherlands issue its ruling on the raging maritime dispute, China’s state-run publication Global Times has urged the Chinese government to take ‘drastic’ steps to end the standoff in the West Philippine Sea.

The Global Times is operated by China’s Communist Party’s official newspaper, The People’s Daily and is said to have been very radical in its views, especially on the issue of territorial disputes, owing to its close ties with the government.

In an editorial published on July 8, the paper said the potential escalation of tensions in the West Philippine Sea largely “depends on if the US incites the Philippines to take aggressive actions, or even if the US itself steps forward.”

“If the US and the Philippines act on impulse and carry out flagrant provocation, China will not take a single step back,” read the editorial.

“If the US and the Philippines scheme to play some tricks around Ren’ai Reef, China could tow away or sink the “stranded” old ship, and resolve the standoff once and for all,” it warned.

The publication also urged Beijing to warn Manila that the crisis was supposedly caused by Philippine Navy chasing and capturing Chinese fishing boats and fishermen in Panatag or Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island to China.)

“China took the chance and completely controlled the island,” the paper added. “If the Philippines dares to provoke China on the strength of the US, China does not need to restrain itself any more, but can turn Huangyan Island into a military outpost to counter more provocations from the Philippines and the US.”

The ‘stranded old ship’ being referred to in the editorial is the Philippine Navy’s BRP Sierra Madre which was deliberately  ran aground on the Ayungin Shoal to maintain the countries territorial claim in the area.

It has since become a military outpost and home to a number of Philippine Marines who are protecting the shoal.

In 2014, a Philippine resupply ship with replacement troops were blocked by Chinese coast guards from coming near the shoal, causing an international uproar and prompting the Philippines to file a diplomatic protest against China.