Skip to Content Facebook Feature Image

Filipino activists decide not to sail closer to disputed shoal, avoiding clash with Chinese ships

News

Filipino activists decide not to sail closer to disputed shoal, avoiding clash with Chinese ships
News

News

Filipino activists decide not to sail closer to disputed shoal, avoiding clash with Chinese ships

2024-05-16 13:43 Last Updated At:13:50

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area.

Accompanied by journalists on four boats, the activists will distribute food packs and fuel to Filipino fishermen about 58 nautical miles (107 kilometers) southeast of Scarborough Shoal and then sail back home, Emman Hizon and other organizers said.

More Images
In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, activists and crew members distribute fuel to fishermen as groups from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, sailed at the South China Sea on Wednesday May 15, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area.

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, activists and crew members fish on a boat as groups from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, sailed at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, activists and crew members fish on a boat as groups from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, sailed at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, fishermen raise a Philippine flag on their boat as activists and volunteers from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, sailed at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, fishermen raise a Philippine flag on their boat as activists and volunteers from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, sailed at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, a fisherman raises a Philippine flag on his boat as activists and volunteers from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, sailed at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, a fisherman raises a Philippine flag on his boat as activists and volunteers from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, sailed at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, a Chinese Coast Guard ship, background, passes the boats of activists and volunteers from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, a Chinese Coast Guard ship, background, passes the boats of activists and volunteers from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

Chinese and Philippine coast guard and accompanying ships have had a series of increasingly hostile territorial faceoffs at Scarborough, which is surrounded by the Chinese coast guard, and at Philippine-occupied Second Thomas Shoal since last year. The Chinese ships have used powerful water cannons and employed blocking and other dangerous maneuvers that led to minor collisions, injured several Filipino navy personnel and strained diplomatic ties.

The United States has repeatedly warned that it's obligated to defend the Philippines, its longtime treaty ally, if Filipino forces, ships or aircraft come under an armed attack in the region, including in the busy South China Sea. That has sparked fears a conflict could involve Washington if the territorial disputes escalate out of control.

The activists and fishing community leaders, who belong to a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, provided aid to Filipino fishermen and floated symbolic territorial buoys on Wednesday on their way to Scarborough's outlying waters to assert Philippine sovereign rights over the atoll. But two Chinese coast guard ships started shadowing them Wednesday night, according to Hizon and the Philippine coast guard.

A group of 10 activists managed to evade the Chinese blockade by at least 46 ships in the outlying waters on Wednesday and distributed food and fuel to Filipinos fishing closer to the atoll. That was cited by the activists in declaring that their mission was a success.

“We managed to breach their illegal blockade, reaching the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc to support our fishers with essential supplies,” said Rafaela David, an activist leader who led the voyage to the disputed waters. “Mission accomplished.”

The Philippine coast guard deployed three patrol ships and a light plane on Wednesday to keep watch on the activists, who set off from western Zambales province. Dozens of journalists joined the three-day voyage.

In December, the group mounted an expedition to another disputed shoal but cut the trip short after being tailed by a Chinese ship.

China effectively seized Scarborough Shoal, a triangle-shaped atoll with a vast fishing lagoon ringed by mostly submerged coral outcrops, by surrounding it with its coast guard ships after a tense 2012 standoff with Philippine government ships.

Angered by China’s action, the Philippine government brought the territorial disputes to international arbitration in 2013 and largely won, with a tribunal in The Hague ruling three years later that China’s expansive claims based on historical grounds in the busy seaway were invalid under the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The ruling declared Scarborough Shoal a traditional fishing area for Chinese, Filipino and Vietnamese fishermen, but China refused to join the arbitration, rejected the ruling and continues to defy it.

Two weeks ago, Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships used water cannons on Philippine coast guard and fisheries ships patrolling Scarborough Shoal, damaging both ships.

The Philippines condemned the Chinese coast guard’s action at the shoal, which lies in Manila's internationally recognized exclusive economic zone. The Chinese coast guard said it took a “necessary measure” after the Philippine ships “violated China’s sovereignty.”

Aside from the Philippines and China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have also been involved in the long-seething territorial disputes.

Indonesia has also had skirmishes with Chinese vessels in resource-rich waters stretching from its Natuna islands to the margins of the South China Sea, which Beijing has claimed virtually in its entirety.

The Indonesian navy has fired warning shots in the past and seized Chinese fishing boats it accused of encroaching into Indonesian waters.

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, activists and crew members distribute fuel to fishermen as groups from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, sailed at the South China Sea on Wednesday May 15, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, activists and crew members distribute fuel to fishermen as groups from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, sailed at the South China Sea on Wednesday May 15, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, activists and crew members fish on a boat as groups from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, sailed at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, activists and crew members fish on a boat as groups from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, sailed at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, fishermen raise a Philippine flag on their boat as activists and volunteers from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, sailed at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, fishermen raise a Philippine flag on their boat as activists and volunteers from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, sailed at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, a fisherman raises a Philippine flag on his boat as activists and volunteers from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, sailed at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, a fisherman raises a Philippine flag on his boat as activists and volunteers from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, sailed at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, a Chinese Coast Guard ship, background, passes the boats of activists and volunteers from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

In this photo provided by Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party, a Chinese Coast Guard ship, background, passes the boats of activists and volunteers from a nongovernment coalition called Atin Ito, Tagalog for This is Ours, at the South China Sea on Thursday May 16, 2024. About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. (Atin-Ito/Akbayan Party via AP)

Next Article

Stock market today: Nvidia keeps flying and helps Wall Street stay near its records

2024-06-20 22:28 Last Updated At:22:30

NEW YORK (AP) — Nvidia, the chip company that’s become Wall Street’s most influential stock, is rising again Thursday, and it’s helping to keep U.S. indexes around their records despite a mixed set of reports on the economy.

The S&P 500 was edging up by less than 0.1% in morning trading after setting an all-time high for the 31st time this year before Wednesday’s holiday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 165 points, or 0.4%, as of 10:20 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.3% from its own record.

Nvidia rose 0.6% after supplanting Microsoft on Tuesday as the most valuable company on Wall Street with a total market value of more than $3.3 trillion. It’s been on an incredible run as the main beneficiary of the stock market’s frenzy around artificial-intelligence technology.

Nvidia’s chips are helping to power the move into AI, which proponents see producing explosive growth in productivity and profits, and it’s already up 175.3% this year after more than tripling last year.

The gains for Nvidia and other AI winners have helped prop up the stock market despite some weakness in the U.S. economy. High interest rates meant to grind down inflation have hurt the housing market and manufacturing in particular, while lower-income households are showing signs of struggling to keep up with still-rising prices.

Winnebago Industries, for example, has been introducing “economical” trailers to attract customers amid “inconsistent retail patterns.” But its profit and revenue for the latest quarter fell short of analysts’ expectations. Shares of the maker of motorhomes and pontoons fell 2.8%.

In a show of how powerful AI can be, Accenture rose 6.1% even though the consulting and professional-services company reported weaker profit and revenue for the latest quarter than expected. In its earnings report, it highlighted how it won over $900 million in new bookings for generative AI, bringing the total for its last three quarters to more than $2 billion.

Close behind Accenture was Super Micro Computer, which sells server and storage systems used in AI and other computing. It jumped 6% to bring its gain for the year so far to 242.9%.

The supernova for AI stocks has helped mask some weakness underneath the surface in the market. That can be a worrying signal for market watchers, who would prefer to see a large number of companies pushing the market higher instead of just a handful.

“It has been common in past cycles, as the stock market is coming into a meaningful top, that the biggest growth names are the ones carrying the load,” according to Scott Wren, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute,

Treasury yields ticked higher following a spate of mixed reports on the economy. The number of U.S. workers filing for unemployment benefits eased last week, but not by as much as economists expected. A separate report said manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic is growing, but not as quickly as economists thought. Home builders, meanwhile, broke ground on fewer new homes last month than expected.

The hope on Wall Street is actually for a slowdown in the U.S. economy’s growth. That could help keep a lid on inflationary pressures and convince the Federal Reserve to cut its main interest rate later this year. Such a cut would release pressure on the economy and boost investment prices.

Fed officials have indicated they could cut their main interest rate once or twice this year, down from its highest level in more than 20 years. Many traders on Wall Street, meanwhile, are expecting two or more, according to data from CME Group.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury climbed to 4.27% from 4.22% late Tuesday. The two-year yield, which more closely tracks expectations for the Fed, rose more modestly to 4.74% from 4.71%.

Some other central banks have already begun removing the brakes from their economies.

The Swiss National Bank cuts its main rate on Thursday. The Bank of England, though, kept its main rate steady.

Stock indexes rose across much of Europe following the moves. The French CAC 40 gained 1.2% to recoup more of its losses from last week following jolting results from elections. Asian indexes were mixed.

AP Writer Zimo Zhong contributed.

FILE - The New York Stock Exchange is shown on June 18, 2024 in New York. European markets have opened higher on Thursday, June 20, 2024, after a mixed day of trading in Asia. Trading was thin after U.S. markets were closed in observance of Juneteenth. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

FILE - The New York Stock Exchange is shown on June 18, 2024 in New York. European markets have opened higher on Thursday, June 20, 2024, after a mixed day of trading in Asia. Trading was thin after U.S. markets were closed in observance of Juneteenth. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

People stand in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, on Thursday, June 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

People stand in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, on Thursday, June 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

The New York Stock Exchange is shown on Tuesday, June 18, 2024 in New York. Shares are mostly higher in Europe and Asia after U.S. stocks rallied to more records, with gains for technology companies pushing the benchmarks higher. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

The New York Stock Exchange is shown on Tuesday, June 18, 2024 in New York. Shares are mostly higher in Europe and Asia after U.S. stocks rallied to more records, with gains for technology companies pushing the benchmarks higher. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

People walk in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Thursday, June 20, 2024, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

People walk in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Thursday, June 20, 2024, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

A person walks in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Thursday, June 20, 2024, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

A person walks in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Thursday, June 20, 2024, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

A person walks in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Thursday, June 20, 2024, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

A person walks in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Thursday, June 20, 2024, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

People stand in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Thursday, June 20, 2024, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

People stand in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Thursday, June 20, 2024, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Recommended Articles