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    Philippine Supply Boats Breach a Chinese Coast Guard Blockade in the Hotly Contested South China Sea

    Philippine Supply Boats Breach a Chinese Coast Guard Blockade in the Hotly Contested South China Sea

    ABOARD BRP CABRA — As a United States Navy plane circled overhead, two Philippine boats breached a Chinese coast guard blockade in a dangerous confrontation Tuesday in the disputed South Sea to deliver food and other supplies to Filipino forces guarding a contested shoal.

    Two Philippine coast guard vessels escorting the supply boats, however, were blocked by at least four Chinese coast guard ships for about five hours in the tense standoff near Second Thomas Shoal.

    The dangerous encounter is the latest flare-up from the long-seething territorial disputes in the busy sea that involve China, the Philippines, Vietnam, , and Brunei. It's regarded as an Asian flashpoint and has become a delicate fault line in the U.S.-China rivalry.

    The Philippine coast guard invited a small group of journalists, including two from The Associated Press, to join its ships that secured the supply boats as part of a strategy aimed at exposing China's increasingly aggressive actions in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims virtually in its entirety.

    One Chinese coast guard ship came as close as 46 meters (50 yards) as it crossed the bow of BRP Cabra to block the Philippine coast guard ship, which maneuvered fast to avoid a collision, said a coast guard officer onboard the Cabra who could not be named because of official policy.

    The Cabra and another coast guard ship, the BRP Sindangan, were surrounded by four…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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