Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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Philippines Accuses China of Trying to 'Physically Expel' Filipinos from South China Sea

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(Photo : Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images) Alan Boyle, one of the Philippine legal representatives, said that China has endangered the lives of the Filipinos in violation of international maritime safety laws.

The Philippine legal representatives at the Hague International Arbitration Court this week accused China of bullying and trying to physically expel its citizens from the disputed parts of the South China Sea. Beijing has refused to participate in the court proceedings and insists on bilateral negotiations instead to settle the dispute between the two countries.

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The Inquirer reported that the Philippines has jut finished its first series of arguments that seeks to refute the Chinese claims on virtually the whole of the South China Sea. The second arguments will start on Monday, according to Malacanang spokesperson Abigail Valte.

The Filipino lawyers cited several examples to back up their charges including an incident in 2014 where Chinese naval vessels prevented a Philippine civilian vessel from supplying food and other essentials in the Ayungin Shoal.

The Filipino ship was trying to supply a small detachment of Philippine Marines standing guard on the shoal to prevent its occupation by Chinese forces like they did on Kagitingan (Mischief) Reef 20 years ago.

Alan Boyle, one of the members of the Philippine legal team said that Chinese military ships deliberately caused near collisions with Filipino ships near Scarborough Shoal in 2012. Such incidents, Boyle said, clearly indicates that the Chinese have endangered the lives of the Filipinos in violation of international maritime safety laws.

The Philippine legal team also told the Hague that the nine dash line theory espoused by China to justify its claim of the South China Sea is not valid.

A number of environmental experts have also been presented by the Philippines. They testified that the massive artificial land building of China has also caused massive damages to the sea including the destruction of coral reefs. Chinese fisherman have also used illegal methods to catch fishes and endangered species like sea turtles. Such fishing practice can result in the depletion of the sea's fishing resources.

Meanwhile, the Philippine government is playing catch up in modernizing its armed forces. An initial delivery of fighter jets made from South Korea has recently been made with several more deliveries scheduled within the next two years. Additional budget for the acquisition of air and naval vessels as well as equipment and ammunition has also been approved by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III.

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