The Relentless Deception: China’s Underhanded Tactics In The South China Sea

The Chinese Communist Party’s brazen attempts to undermine the Philippines’ sovereignty in the South China Sea have taken an insidious new turn. Recent allegations that Chinese diplomats secretly recorded conversations between Filipino officials and then leaked doctored transcripts reek of Beijing’s signature tactics – deception, interference, and bullying.

Filipino officials have rightly condemned these actions as a flagrant violation of diplomatic protocols and conventions. National Security Adviser Eduardo Año minced no words, declaring that those Chinese diplomats involved in such “malign influence and interference operations” must be immediately expelled from the country. His call echoes a growing chorus of outrage in the face of the CCP’s remorseless affronts to Philippine sovereignty.

At the heart of this controversy are the contested waters around the Ayungin Shoal, known as the Second Thomas Shoal to the Philippines but claimed by China as Ren’ai Jiao within its illegitimate “nine-dash line.” This tiny shoal has become the latest flashpoint in the CCP’s belligerent push to cement control over the entire South China Sea through intimidation and coercion of its smaller neighbors.

The leaked recordings allegedly referred to some dubious “gentleman’s agreement” over the Philippines’ routine resupply missions to its outpost on Ayungin Shoal. Yet, as top Filipino officials forcefully stated, no such agreement exists, underscoring the CCP’s proclivity for manufacturing disinformation to sow division and discord.

This episode lays bare the depths to which Beijing will stoop to advance its hegemonic ambitions. Even as Chinese coast guard vessels have been documented firing water cannons at Philippine boats, injuring their personnel, the CCP resorts to offensive psy-ops through its diplomatic ranks. Such actions not only violate Philippine laws but utterly denigrate the principles of good faith and mutual respect expected of foreign missions.




The CCP’s stratagem is transparent: to weaken Philippine resolve by driving a wedge between its government and people. By propagating falsehoods about ceding maritime rights, Beijing hopes to catalyze domestic unrest that could compel Manila to retreat from defending its legitimate claims. This cynical ploy must be wholeheartedly rejected.

Equally disturbing are emerging reports of potential island-building activity by China near the Escoda or Sabina Shoal, a mere 75 nautical miles from the Philippine island of Palawan. The dumping of crushed corals suggests an ominous pattern repeating itself – the gradual, insidious transformation of reefs into military outposts. This creeping salami-slicing strategy, mastered by Beijing in the Spratlys and the Paracels, now threatens to encroach on the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

The CCP’s expansionist agenda in the South China Sea stands in defiant contradiction to international law, including a 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling that eviscerated the legal basis for its ridiculous “nine-dash line” claims. Rather than respecting this legally binding decision, Beijing has only intensified its Maritime Militia deployments and island fortifications.

For the Indo-Pacific’s navies, including the United States and its allies, the stakes could not be higher. An estimated one-third of global shipping traverses the South China Sea annually. Ceding control to Beijing’s capricious brand of authoritarianism would inflict serious economic harm while severely undermining the freedom of navigation that underpins maritime security.

It is incumbent upon the international community to unequivocally denounce the CCP’s underhanded tactics and outright defiance of established norms. Economic pressure, lawfare, and robust naval presence must all be leveraged to disabuse Beijing of its territorial overreach. Appeasement is not an option.

For its part, the Philippines must remain steadfast in asserting its legitimate sovereignty, rights, and jurisdiction. The CCP’s efforts to subdue through subterfuge must be met with a united front – a citizenry and leadership resolved to call out and counter Beijing’s malign interference at every turn.

Capitulation is what emboldens Beijing’s hubris. Filipinos of all stripes must see the CCP’s duplicity.






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