The Chinese Coast Guard uses water cannons against Filipino boats

The Chinese Coast Guard uses water cannons against Filipino boats

Manila – Chinese Coast Guard ships blocked and used water cannons on two Filipino supply boats bound for disputed shoals occupied by Philippine Marines in the South China Sea, sparking an angry protest against China and a warning from the Philippine government that its ships were under cover. The chief diplomat in Manila said Thursday that the Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States.

No one was injured in the incident in the disputed waters on Tuesday, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., but the two supply ships had to abort their mission to provide food supplies to Philippine forces occupying Thomas Shoal II, which is off western Palawan. A province in the internationally recognized exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.

Locsin said in a tweet on Twitter that the actions of the three Chinese coast guard ships were illegal and urged them to “be careful and back off.”

Locsin said the Philippine government conveyed to China “our anger, condemnation and protest over the incident,” adding that “this failure to exercise restraint threatens the special relationship between the Philippines and China” that President Rodrigo Duterte and his Chinese counterpart said. Xi Jinping, worked hard to take care of him.

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There was no immediate comment from Chinese officials in Manila or Beijing.

The incident is the latest escalation in the long-running territorial disputes in the strategic waterway, where there are overlapping claims between China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. China claims almost the entire waterway and has turned seven of the disputed shoals into missile-protected island bases to bolster its claims, escalating tensions and alarming rival claimants and US-led Western governments.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon told reporters in Manila that the government will deploy Coast Guard and Fisheries Bureau ships instead of Navy ships to support Philippine forces and enforce Philippine fishing laws at Second Thomas Shoal, which Filipinos call Ayungin and China refers to Ren’ai Reefs.

He said the number of Chinese surveillance ships had increased in recent weeks in far shallow waters as well as around Thitu, a larger Philippine-occupied island in the Spratly Archipelago in the more contested region of the South China Sea.

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He said Filipino forces would not hesitate to travel again to the shallow waters in the wake of the incident.

“We will continue to resupply and we do not have to ask permission from anyone because it is within our territory,” Esperon said.

The Philippine military intentionally derailed a World War II-era battleship, the BRP Sierra Madre, in submerged shallow waters in 1999 to bolster its claim and provide shelter for a small unit of Philippine Marines.

The Sierra Madre is now a rusty shipwreck but was not stopped by the Philippine military. This makes the ship an extension of the government and means any attack on the ship is tantamount to an attack on the Philippines.

In 2014, the Philippine military invited more than a dozen journalists, television photographers and photographers, including from the Associated Press, on a resupply mission to the shallows in an effort to draw global attention to what Philippine officials described as China’s bullying tactics.

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Two Chinese Coast Guard vessels attempted to block the slow-moving military vessel carrying journalists, as one of them dangerously cut off the path of the Philippine boat twice. The Chinese coast guard warned the Filipino boat over radio to return, saying it was venturing into Chinese territory illegally.

The Chinese ships blew their horns frighteningly, but the boat managed to maneuver toward the Sierra Madre through shallow waters dotted with rocky outcrops, preventing the Chinese ship from chasing.

Washington has no claims to the busy waterway but has patrolled the area with its naval vessels and aircraft to reassure its allies, including the Philippines, and ensure freedom of navigation and overflight. China has repeatedly warned the United States to stay out of the disputed waters and not get involved in what it says is a regional issue.

President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump have repeatedly assured the Philippines that the United States will fulfill its obligations under the two countries’ mutual defense treaty if Philippine troops, ships or aircraft are attacked in the long-disputed region.

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