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A tense high-seas standoff between Chinese and Philippine ships has gripped the two Asian nations since April 10, when 12 Chinese fishing ships were caught by a Philippine naval ship in an ocean area near Scarborough Shoals in the South China Sea.

Both the Philippines and China claim sovereign rights over the area. While the Philippine naval ship tried to apprehend a crew from the Chinese fishing fleet, two Chinese-government-run maritime surveillance ships, Haijian 84 and Haijian 75, rushed into the fight to stop the Philippine vessel, creating a standoff that continues.

A week later, China dispatched its largest and most advanced “fishery administrative ship,” Yuzheng 310, to reinforce the Chinese fleet, further escalating tensions.

Since the beginning of the standoff, China’s war cries against the Philippines have saturated leading government-run Internet forums. Various high-ranking Chinese uniformed officers and military analysts have urged waging war to punish “the little country,” the Philippines.

The Philippine government remains adamant in claiming its sovereignty over the area and demands that Chinese ships go home.

But China blinked on Tuesday by recalling two of the three largest government ships from the area of the Scarborough Shoals as some behind-the-door diplomatic negotiations appeared to be in the works.

The Manila government responded by sending two more naval ships to the area to beef up its posture in the faceoff, causing China to explode yet again with protests and condemnation.

Meanwhile, the Philippines has vowed to take the issue to an international arbitration agency, a move China opposes.

Miles Yu’s columns appear Thursdays. He can be reached at