Events in Ren‘ai Jiao – Second Thomas Shoal

A post in response to @billthesceptic ‘s twitter message:


If it was just a plain link to the original news report itself, I would not reply to it.

The way the message was expressed provoked me that I had to reply to it.

The twitter message used the word “prioritises … grab … over hunt for missing aircraft”. One can simply tell the message is defaulting that China’s action is at wrong.

Let’s look into the facts first as conveyed in the Reuters news report itself.

According to the news press on 10th March 2014, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on 9th March during routine patrol nearby Ren’ai Jiao, the Chinese Coast Guard ship found two ships carrying construction materials and bearing Filipino flags trying to approach Ren’ai Jiao. The Chinese Coast Guard ship drove away these two ships via warning to them by speaker.

As we are aware on 8th March the MH370 airline went missing and many are deeply concerned about the whereabout of the missing MH370. As of 9th March China has sent a few ships and planned to send more ships to the area where MH370 was last known missing to search for it.

But the messages draws to the point that China prioritises “grab in South China Sea” over “hunt for missing aircraft” is simply too sided. China does have its Coast Guard ships routinely patrolling in the Ren’ai Jiao area and how should what it did on 9th March as regarded as “prioritising over the hunt for the missing aircraft”? It has every right to carry out its duty there, to protect its land.

Instead, should the Philippines be regarded as scheming and opportune in making their attempt to send construction materials to its “grounded” vessel in Ren’ai Jiao on this date?

I have done some research and found the following events regarding Ren’ai Jiao:

On 9th May 1999, the Philippines sent its Vessel 57 to Ren’ai Jiao and it was “grounded” there since because its bottom was leaking. If one can recall, on 8th May 1999 the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia was bombed by US and it was a darkest moment in Chinese diplomacy and whole China was like in Chaos and probably no one was paying attention to the Philippines action then. How smart they were!

One can also recall that in 1972 when Taiwan was replaced by Mainland China in the UN, the Philippines quickly sent its troops to snatch Thitu Island and a few other features in the Spratlys from Taiwan’s control.

Anyway, coming back to Ren’ai Jiao, since the Philippines ship was “grounded” there has been constant diplomatic argument between China and the Philippines and according Chinese Foreign Minsitry’s news press, the Philippines has promised to remove the grounded ship from Ren’ai Jiao but didn’t carry out its promise using technical excuses.

Actually back in May 2013 the Philippines  had promised they would not try to send construction materials again, but would only send food supply there.

Chinese Foreign Minsitry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on 1st July 2013 told at the press that the Philippines has clearly explained to China that due to “lack of spare parts” they could not tow away the ship and “the Philippines also didn’t want to be the first one to revoke the Declaration of Conduct in South China Sea”.

If this time the Philippines is just sending food supply to the “grounded” ship, it might not catch much attention, but they were trying to send concrete and rebar. As reported later the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs issued a brief and this is the first time that the Philippine government openly admitted that the BRP Sierra Madre was intentionally positioned at the shoal.  So all the previous excuses for “grounding” and “unable to tow away the ship” become so obvious now.


While I understand the Spratlys in the South China Sea are disputed, and I do expect to see some objective reports from trustworthy media resources like BBC (not CNN) reporters, too often we see the prejudiced or sided media reports, and China is defaulted as the wrong side no matter what it does.

Here I actually want to say I couldn’t really organize my thoughts well in the above post because I am not a native English speaking person and my lack of skills in debating in such way. Sometimes I feel so bad about myself that I cannot express my thoughts well in English but when I am thinking in my native language, it is so simple and straightforward all these kind of prejudices are just so unreasonable.

[updated: 18 Mar 2013 07:50 GMT+8: correction Code of Conduct in South China Sea to Declaration of Conduct in South China Sea

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