MANILA: The Philippines accused the Chinese coast guard on Friday (Nov 10) of “dangerous harassment” of Filipino boats in the disputed South China Sea, including firing a water cannon and blocking vessels on a resupply mission.
The incident happened during a Philippine mission to deliver provisions to a tiny garrison on Second Thomas Shoal, which is part of the Spratly Islands and a longstanding flashpoint between the countries.
China deploys coast guard and other vessels to patrol the hotly contested region and asserts its claim to almost the entire South China Sea.
Manila said the Chinese coast guard and other vessels “recklessly harassed, blocked, executed dangerous manoeuvres” as they tried to “illegally impede or obstruct” Friday’s mission.
A Chinese coast guard vessel fired a water cannon against one of two supply boats, according to the Philippines’ National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea.
The supply mission was also the target of “extremely reckless and dangerous harassment at close proximity” by Chinese boats inside the shoal, it said in a statement, adding that the Philippine vessels still managed to deliver their cargo.
China, however, said it “took control measures” against two Philippine transport boats and three coast guard vessels it insisted were in Chinese waters.
“The Philippines’ actions infringe on China’s territorial sovereignty,” China Coast Guard spokesperson Gan Yu said.
“We urge the Philippines to immediately stop its infringing actions.”
Second Thomas Shoal is about 200km from the western Philippine island of Palawan, and more than 1,000km from China’s nearest major landmass, Hainan island.
Source: Channel News Asia