hello, this is bbc news. the headlines: england's footballers have arrived at their hotel near london ahead of tomorrow's match against italy in the final of euro 2020. the build—up reaches fever pitch — millions of fans around the country preparing to watch the game tomorrow night at eight o'clock. italy are unbeaten in 33 games. they've now flown to luton from their training base near florence, hoping to win their second euros trophy. in other news — fully vaccinated nhs staff could be let off having to self—isolate after contact with someone with covid to try to tackle staff shortages.
and at wimbledon, world number one ash barty has won her first ladies singles title — she beat the eighth seed karolina pliskova in three sets. now on bbc news, it's our world, and a storm is brewing in the south china sea. there are currently four chinese vessels patrolling this area on the outskirts of the shoal. there's trouble in the south china sea. the chinese government is amassing ships, taking over reefs and rocks. we sail into occupied maritime territory to take a closer look at beijing's aggressive policy, and the militia it uses to enforce it.
five years since a landmark legal victory for the philippines, we ask whether china is adhering to the ruling. what you get is this overwhelming narrative that's now global, of china as a bully, china as a rules—breaker in the south china sea. all chant. we head straight into the century's hottest geopolitical dispute, and meet filipino fishermen caught in the middle. bolinao is a fishing community in the north—west of the philippines. george has been fishing since he was just 12 years old.
george's son jr fishes too but worries for his future. george and jr fish in the hotly contested south china sea. $3.5 trillion worth of international trade passes through here every year. it's believed to hold sizeable reserves of oil and gas. six countries claim exclusive economic zones, according to a united nations treaty. each one stretching up to 200 nautical miles
from their coastlines. the area in the middle is regarded as international waters. but china stands alone in claiming all of the territory and its resources within its disputed nine dash line, created after world war ii. george and jr fish at scarborough shoal. around 160 nautical miles from bolinao and more than 400 nautical miles from china's coast. the shoal is above water at high tide, so it does have its own territorial sea, but the philippines claim it as theirs. vietnam also claims historical rights to fish there. china has been blockading the lagoon since 2012. george and his sonjr have been repeatedly chased away from scarborough shoal. they've agreed
to take me with them to witness what happens at sea. this journey became riskier earlier this year when china changed its coastguard law to allow the use of weapons to eliminate dangers when their national sovereignty is being infringed upon. after 22 hours of sailing, we arrive at scarborough shoal. it's high tide and the reef is hardly breaking the surface, but if you look closely, waves from the deep blue ocean break on a lighter turquoise body of water. that's the limestone reef you can see in this satellite
image. easier to spot is the chinese presence. so there's a chinese coastguard vessel that's watching us at the moment. it's done three sweeps, first of all 200 metres away, then 100 metres away, and now 50 metres away, it's watching our every move. the coastguard ship leaves without incident but it's made its point. going inside scarborough shoal is off limits.
instead, the crews stay on the outside, fanning out in small boats. they're rigged to compressor pumps and long tubes — a risky alternative to air tank diving. they pass by what looks like old torpedo or artillery shells. possible remnants from the time america maintained military bases in the philippines and used the shoal as a firing range.
the one thing that strikes me about scarborough shoal is how fitting the name is. shoal is old english for shallow and everywhere i've looked the last 20 minutes it's been maybe chest height max. given how flat it is, it's an ideal place for land reclamation, and china have a long history in doing exactly that. scarborough shoal isn't the only reef in the south china sea that china has taken an interest in. satellite images from 2012 to 2020 of mischief reef in the spratly islands reveal it's slowly being transformed into a muscular military base, complete with airstrips and anti—aircraft guns. at mischief and six other reefs in the spratlys, china used dredges to dump sand and rock on top of coral reefs, turning them into artificial islands. similar developments have taken place in the paracels — another group of islands
where china maintains a constant presence. some believe if beijing builds on scarborough shoal it will completely control access to the south china sea. last and next port of call, over. tensions rose this year when china began swarming reefs and rocks with hundreds of boats in the spratly islands. philippine secretary of foreign affairs, teodoro locsinjr, had had enough and tweeted asking china to get the "f out" of philippine waters. i spoke with secretary locsin to ask why he reacted so strongly. talk us through your twitter feed and your rants and explosive tweets.
secretary locsin deleted his tweet and apologised to his chinese counterpart. a spokesperson said they hoped "a certain individual from the philippine side will mind basic manners and act in a way that suits his status." this is a scarborough shoal at low tide. it's named after a british trading ship that ran aground here in the 18th century. filipinos refer to it as panatag or "peaceful" shoal.
you can see hundreds of these rocks jutting out from the waterline. and although it seems like a benign place, this is an area that's at the centre of a major geopolitical dispute. 0n the one hand, china claims large swathes of these waters as theirs. and then you have countries like the united kingdom, the united states, australia and india, coming together with this indo pacific doctrine, this idea that these waters should be free and accessible to all. america's indo pacific strategy aims to reassert its influence in asia by working with its allies to promote rules—based international order. when nations try to game the system, or tip the rules in their favour, it throws everything off balance. that's why we are so adamant that these areas of the world
remain peaceful, weather that's the south china sea, the arabian gulf, and increasingly, the arctic. it's of vital interest to america's foreign policy to secure unimpeded flow of global commerce. the united kingdom plans to test that freedom later this year, when its new flagship aircraft carrier, the hms queen elizabeth, will sail through the south china sea. china sees international moves to keep these seas open as a plot to contain its rise and sabotage its stability. but the country signed a 1982 united nations convention on the law of the sea — the international legal framework to settle maritime disputes. when the philippines used the law to challenge china in the permanent court of arbitration, the tribunal ruled that china
had unlawfully prevented filipinos from fishing in scarborough shoal. china did not participate in the tribunal nor accept its findings. on our fifth day at scarborough shoal, winds marking the beginning of the monsoon season rock george's boat. it is around six o'clock in the morning here, and we have moved to the eastern entrance of scarborough shoal. 0n the horizon, you can't see anything, apart from three big boats and they're guarding the eastern entrance to scarborough shoal. normally, under these weather conditions, philippine vessels would shelter inside the lagoon. this is no longer possible under china's control. a violation of the 2016 ruling.
over the last ten years or so, some small component, probably a few hundred boats of this militia force has been professionalised. the national government and provincial governments have dumped money into upgrading them, building new boats, giving them uniforms and weapons training and integrating them into the chain of command of the china coast guard and the chinese navy. so now you've got a militia that really is a professional paramilitary force. by cross—referencing our footage with satellite data, it appears that the militia vessel that sped at us is called qiong sansha yu00311. we cannot get a very good handle on what exactly it was doing other than being there at the shoal for weeks at a time. and this is one of the major problems that you face throughout the south china sea. we've got at least 300 chinese militia boats operating in contested areas every day
of the year, and the vast majority of them you can't see until you basically bump into one. in the 2016 ruling, the tribunal found that china's vessels had moved in a dangerous manner, causing a serious risk of collision. the militia that sailed at us, came at speed and close to our boat. the chinese government refers to scarborough shoal as huangyan island. we asked the chinese embassy in the uk to comment on our evidence. they said:
all chant. filipinos are fighting for control of what they defined as the west philippine sea. under president rodrigo duterte, relations with america have deteriorated, calling into question the two countries�* military alliance. his foreign minister may have told beijing to f off, but in the past, president duterte has made no bones about steering the country towards closer ties with china. president duterte recently said he does not respect the 2016 arbitration ruling that handed his country a legal victory over china.
representative neri colmenares is a member of the left wing philippine opposition coalition, bayan muna. the moment the president of the philippines says that he will throw it in the trashcan, that can be used by china to justify its encroachment of the entire south china sea, so for us, it is this really treacherous on the part of the president to disavow or at least set aside a decision that is really a major victory, notjust for the philippines, but for other countries that are being trampled upon by china in the south china sea. president duterte�*s secretary for foreign affairs denies that chinese financial aid influences philippine policy.
masinloc is a fishing town in zambales. this couple used to earn a living fishing but stopped when they were harassed by the chinese authorities at scarborough shoal. now they work here at the market. what is your message to those fishermen who say they are out of pocket now because of the incursion in scarborough shoal?
is natural resources — fish, oil and gas — or to protect themselves from invasion, calm diplomatic heads will be needed to prevent escalation and a conflict that is in nobody�*s interest. hello, there. there are some major and long awaited changes to the weather pattern over the week ahead. for so long now, our weather has been dominated by low pressure, which has meant we had seen rain. low pressure has been there because the jet stream is to the south of the uk. if we run things on a bit,
we are going to find out on the other side of the atlantic much more undulation in the jet stream pattern, that will then propagate the jet stream and drive it to the north of the uk, which allows high pressure to build up from the south—west, from the azores, and settling things down. not just yet, though. sunday, we've got some more rain in the forecast. a fairly cloudy start, it will brighten up, we'll get some sunshine, that will then induce a few more heavy showers across northern england, scotland, and northern ireland, and at the same time, we've also got some thickening cloud and rain coming into wales and the south—west, so temperatures here will be a bit lower than they were on saturday, but ahead of that with hopefully more sunshine in the midlands, east anglia and the south—east, temperatures here should be a bit higher. we've still got some heavy showers as we head into the evening across scotland in particular. and this rain just marches its way eastwards towards wembley later on in the evening. indeed there is more rain to come as we head into the start of next week because low pressure is still in charge. that is sitting right over the uk. so, we are looking at more rain more
widely i think on monday. that rain could be heavy, it could be thundery, and it could lead to some localised flooding. downpours developing more widely in scotland and northern england, we've got some rain further south. it looks at this stage like northern ireland may see some of the driest weather, and temperatures will be up at around 20 or 21 celsius. now, that low pressure bringing the downpours slowly, slowly pushes away towards continental europe, and it starts to dry out a little bit more, especially across the western side of the uk on tuesday. this is where all the heavy downpours are. mostly the other side of the channel, not far away from the extreme south—east of england. they will be a few showers around on tuesday but they will be fewer and lighter so temperatures will start to creep upjust a little bit. that drying out process continues as we head into wednesday. we've got that low pressure stuck really across central europe, a nose of high pressure coming in across the uk so more in the way of sunshine, dry weather as well, still not that warm towards east anglia and the south—east because it is a northerly breeze, and a weak weather front will be bringing cloud
into the north—west of the uk, maybe even a few spots of around as well. for many, it is a dry day with some sunshine. that weak weather front is running around the top of the area of high pressure, not much rain in it, really, but what it does do as head into thursday, it tracks down into the high pressure and brings cloud down into england and wales, and maybe one or two spots of rain but essentially it is dry. it looks like a cloudier date for england and wales on thursday, more sunshine in scotland and northern ireland. temperatures still into their 20s so normal for this time of year. now, some computer models bring the high pressure in and then pull it away fairly quickly. we are expecting a high pressure to hang around a little bit longer, mind you. and with that high pressure around, it means we've got some much—needed dry weather, and it looks like it will be drying to next weekend with some sunshine.
when this is bbc news. when i'm shaun ley — the headlines at 10:00pm: england's footballers have arrived at their hotel near london ahead of tomorrow's match against italy in the final of euro 2020. ahead of the historic match their manager gareth southgate says his team want to �*bring the trophy home�* it always comes back to tomorrow and we are here to win. it always comes back to tomorrow and we are here to win. italy are unbeaten in 33 games — they've now arrived in the uk, hoping to win their second euros trophy. in other news — fully vaccinated nhs staff could be let off having to self—isolate after contact with someone with covid — to try to tackle staff shortages. and, at wimbledon, world number one ashleigh barty has won her first ladies singles title — she beat the eighth seed karolina pliskova in three sets.