THE presence of a dilapidated Philippine vessel, BRP Sierra Madre, on Ayungin Shoal should not threaten anyone, especially a superpower like China. People should remember that the ship was intentionally grounded there in 1999 in response to the growing Chinese military presence in the South China Sea, including areas within the territories of other countries in the region. Ayungin Shoal, which is also referred to as Second Thomas Shoal, is part of the Spratly Islands that are claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, and, of course, China and the Philippines. Ayungin is also an atoll that is within the country's exclusive economic zone.

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