Chinese Jets Circle Dutch Ship, Creating ‘Unsafe Situation’ in East China Sea, Netherlands Reports

Chinese fighter jets circled a Dutch frigate and approached a Dutch helicopter during a patrol in the East China Sea, creating “a potentially unsafe situation,” the Dutch Defense Ministry announced over the weekend.

In a June 8 statement, the ministry reported that its HNLMS Tromp was circled by two Chinese fighter jets several times while the frigate was conducting patrols in the East China Sea to support a multinational United Nations coalition supervising the enforcement of sanctions against North Korea. The ship’s NH90 combat helicopter was also approached by two Chinese fighter jets and a helicopter.

“The incident took place in international airspace,” the Dutch Defense Ministry stated.

The HNLMS Tromp is on its way to Japan and Hawaii to participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise, which will start later this month.

Tensions With Japan in East China Sea

The incident occurred just one day after Tokyo protested against the Chinese regime when four armed Chinese Coast Guard ships entered Japan’s territorial waters near the disputed islands in the East China Sea.

“I am not in a position to state what the Chinese side’s intentions are, but the intrusion of vessels belonging to China’s coast guard into [our] territory is a breach of international law,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters at a June 7 press conference.

Tokyo controls the disputed islands, which it calls the Senkaku Islands, but Beijing also claims the area and calls them the Diaoyu Islands. Tensions escalated in 2012 when the Japanese government bought some islands from a private Japanese owner.

China’s coast guard stated that it had patrolled the waters with vessels carrying weapons, claiming that the patrol was a “routine action” to safeguard sovereignty, security, and maritime rights and a “necessary step” to achieve peace and stability and to counter Japan’s recent “negative moves.”

Tokyo lodged a “strong protest” through diplomatic channels calling for a swift exit from the area, Mr. Hayashi said, noting that the four Chinese vessels stayed in the area for more than an hour.

Last month, he said the Chinese coast guard had entered waters near the Japanese-controlled disputed islands in the East China Sea for a record 158 consecutive days, surpassing the previous record of 157 days, set in 2021.

Tensions With Philippines, Vietnam in South China Sea

The Philippine military stated on June 4 that Chinese boats intercepted and seized one of four food packs that were airdropped to a Philippine outpost in disputed waters in the South China Sea on May 19. The food supplies were meant for the Filipino Marines aboard the BRP Sierra Madre, a deliberately grounded navy vessel that has served as a Philippine outpost in the disputed Spratly Islands since 1999.

In recent months, there have been multiple reports of confrontations in the South China Sea between the two countries. In late March, the Philippines accused a Chinese coast guard vessel of using water cannons against a Philippine ship, causing injuries to three sailors.

In a separate, earlier incident, at least four Filipino crew members were injured by broken glass after a Chinese water cannon attack. Manila summoned a Chinese diplomat to protest the incident and stated that it constituted “aggressive actions.”

Last month, at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. warned the Chinese regime against crossing the line into “an act of war.”

On June 6, Vietnam demanded that the Chinese survey ship Hai Yang 26 end its illegal survey operations in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf within Vietnamese waters in the Gulf of Tonkin area. Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Pham Thu Hang told reporters that Vietnam also demanded that China respect the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *