The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) condemned the latest aggressive and dangerous actions of the Chinese Coast Guard in the waters surrounding Ayungin Shoal, a Philippine occupied maritime feature in the Spratly Islands and well within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The latest incident involved a Chinese Coast Guard ship blocking the Philippine Coast Guard’s BRP Malapascua as it was on its way to Ayungin Shoal, resulting in a near collision.

BAYAN declared that China has no right to block the Philippine’s access to its own EEZ, the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), Scarborough Shoal, and other maritime features and waters within and surrounding Philippine territory. China’s claim of “indisputable sovereignty” over these areas have been debunked time and again as having no legal, moral, or historical basis.

“China’s aggressive actions based on its unfounded territorial claims not only heighten tensions between the two countries but, ironically, are being used to justify the increased military presence in the region of its big power rival, the United States of America. The militarization of the South China Sea serves neither the Chinese nor Filipino peoples and, in light of US saber rattling especially in the Asia Pacific, is bringing us closer to a war that neither the Filipino, Chinese or American people want.

Contrary to its long history of anti-imperialist struggle, its peaceful rise as a world power, and whatever claims it has of being socialist, China’s bullying tactics confirm that it has become an imperialist itself.”

BAYAN reiterated their call for de-escalation of conflict and demilitarization of the South China Sea, the withdrawal of all foreign troops and military vessels in the West Philippine Sea, and the use of political and diplomatic solutions to settle disputes in the area.