China lands aircraft on disputed South China Sea reefs and coastguard blocks Philippine fishing boat as Beijing defies ruling

Two Chinese aircraft landed on disputed reefs and Beijing’s coastguard reportedly blocked a Philippine boat from a contested shoal, in acts of defiance after a landmark ruling found China’s vast claims in the South China Sea legally baseless.

Vietnam protested on Thursday that the recent Chinese actions seriously violated Vietnamese sovereignty.

Chinese state media reported that two Chinese civilian aircraft landed successfully on Wednesday on two new airstrips on Mischief and Subi reefs. China also said it had completed four lighthouses on disputed reefs and was launching a fifth.

In the Philippines, ABS-CBN TV network reported that Chinese coastguard ships blocked a Philippine fishing boat from approaching the disputed Scarborough Shoal on Thursday.

Journalist Chiara Zambrano reported the two speedboats approached and encircled the Philippine boat carrying her and local fishermen.

One video the network aired showed the Philippine boat being tailed by a white Chinese coastguard ship in an area Zambrano said was a kilometres from Scarborough, where the local fishermen were blocked from entering to fish. Another video showed the Chinese coastguard personnel using a bullhorn and ordering the Filipinos to leave “this area immediately”.

Mayor Arsenia Lim, of the northwestern town of Masinloc, where the fishermen live, said they sailed to Scarborough to test China’s compliance with the ruling.

“What they’re doing is bad because it shows as if there is no law,” Lim said.

“Our government should defend the livelihood of these people because it’s the only place where they get their income.”

Full article: China lands aircraft on disputed South China Sea reefs and coastguard blocks Philippine fishing boat as Beijing defies ruling (South China Morning Post)

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