From laser pointers blinding Philippine sailors to collisions at sea near key military outposts, tensions are rapidly surging between Manila and Beijing in the strategically and economically important South China Sea, where the two have overlapping claims.

Sunday’s collision between a China Coast Guard vessel and a Philippine resupply vessel near the Spratly Island chain marked the latest in a series of dangerous or aggressive actions that are not only worsening Sino-Philippine ties but could also threaten to escalate into a larger crisis, including one that draws in the United States, Manila’s defense treaty ally.

This year alone has seen several incidents take place, including China’s use of lasers and water cannons against the Philippine Coast Guard and an amassing of Chinese fishery boats — part of Beijing’s maritime militia — near Reed Bank.