Second Thomas Shoal, a feature in the South China Sea, is highly contested: both China and the Philippines claim sovereignty over this area and have confronted each other repeatedly around the shoal, stirring tensions that have escalated into a military confrontation between the two countries. The Chinese Embassy in Manila announced that the Chinese Coast Guard would continue law enforcement activities around the Second Thomas Shoal and condemned the Philippines’ presence in the region; the government of the Philippines insists that it has sovereignty. Both sides state that the other is violating international law.

China’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea have long been a point of contention for some Southeast Asian countries, the United States, and others. Conflict management in the Second Thomas Shoal has lasting implications for China’s neighbors.

On March 8, 2024, Jennifer Staats discusses rising tension in Second Thomas Shoal and China-Philippine relations with Jay Batongbacal and Frances Wang.

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