Reports from the South China Sea indicate that a Chinese warship has run aground off Half Moon Shoal, which is territory claimed by the Phillipines. Six other Chinese ships have apparently come to its aid, and no injuries were sustained by crew members. Half Moon Shoal is only 59 n.m. from the Philippine Island of Palawan, and the Government of the Philippines has volunteered to render assistance if needed. Unfortunately, such incidents involve the incursion of a Chinese warship into an area long claimed by the Philippines. Half Moon Shoal is circled in red on the map above; it is extremely close to the Philippines.
|Chinese Radar at Subi Reef|
Relations between the two countries have been poor since the incident on Scarborough Reef. A large Chinese "weather" radar facility on Subi Reef, which is only 12 n.m. from the Philippine-claimed island of Kalayaan is also a source of Philippine irritation, as it clearly has military applications.
Somehow, the tensions in the region need to be reduced, lest an incident get out of hand, and precipitate an international crisis. Frankly, China has gone out of its way to pursue its claims through intimidating maritime tactics, in the South China Sea.