Philippines Says Chinese Coast Guard Fired Water Cannons Against Its Ships Delivering Supplies Off Disputed Shoal

US Allies TARGETED - Shots Fired!

4359

Chinese coast guards opened fire on Philippine vessels with water cannons on Sunday, damaging one vessel and putting Filipino crew members in risk off a disputed shoal in the South China Sea. This follows a day of similar incidents at another disputed shoal, according to Philippine officials.

Two Philippine navy-operated supply boats and two Philippine coast guard escort ships had sailed to deliver food and other supplies to Filipino forces on a long-marooned navy ship that serves as a territorial outpost near the Second Thomas Shoal. The latest confrontation near the spot was immediately condemned by the Philippines and its treaty ally, the United States.

“We condemn, once again, China’s latest unprovoked acts of coercion and dangerous maneuvers against a legitimate and routine Philippine rotation and resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal that has put the lives of our people at risk,” a Philippine government task force that deals with the territorial disputes said in a statement, using the Filipino name for the shoal.

The Chinese coast guard’s high-pressure water cannon blasts rendered the engines of the Philippine supply boat M/L Kalayaan inoperable and badly damaged. As a result, the vessel had to be towed back to Palawan, a province in the western Philippines, according to Philippine officials, who also noted that the crew’s lives were put in grave danger by this action.

One of two Philippine coast guard escort ships, the BRP Cabra, sustained damage to its mast due to the water cannon blast.

According to reports, after being rammed by a Chinese coast guard ship, another supply boat was able to evade capture and deliver supplies to the Filipino marines stationed at Second Thomas Shoal.

Drone video footage and photographs issued by the Philippine coast guard show two Chinese coast guard ships separately blasting water cannons at close range at BRP Cabra and a smaller supply boat.

“The systematic and consistent manner in which the People’s Republic of China carries out these illegal and irresponsible actions puts into question and significant doubt the sincerity of its calls for peaceful dialogue,” it said. “We demand that China demonstrate that it is a responsible and trustworthy member of the international community.”

They (the Chinese coast guard) “implemented controls in accordance with laws and regulations,” its statement read. Without going into specifics, the statement just stated that the actions of the Philippines “seriously infringed on China’s sovereignty.”

It also claimed a Philippine vessel ignored warnings and in violation of international navigation regulations made a sharp turn in an “unprofessional and dangerous manner” and intentionally collided with a Chinese coast guard ship, causing “scratching.”

“The responsibility lies entirely with the Philippine side,” the coast guard said.

Speaking on behalf of the coast guard, Gan Yu characterized China’s behavior as “reasonable, legal and professional,” and assured that such activities would persist without interruption.

“We sternly warn the Philippines to immediately cease its infringing actions … and strictly control its provocations on the front line so as not to drop a stone on its own foot,” Gan was quoted as saying on the coast guard’s website.

China’s actions were strongly condemned by foreign diplomats in the Philippines, including the ambassadors from treaty partner the U.S., the European Union and Japan.

“The U.S. stands with the Philippines and partners in vehemently condemning the PRC’s repeated illegal and dangerous actions against vessels,” U.S. Ambassador MaryKay L. Carlson posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

For years, Chinese ships have encircled the Philippine-occupied Second Thomas Shoal, cutting off the Philippines’ coast guard and supply boats in their long-running struggle for control of the contentious atoll that both countries claim.

China has rejected all international condemnation and attempts at legal intervention, including a 2016 ruling by a U.N.-backed arbitration tribunal that invalidated China’s claims, leaving them without any legal basis. China insists it has a legal right to “defend its sovereignty” in keeping with its claim to virtually the entire South China Sea, one of the world’s most crucial waterways for shipping and other maritime activities.

In the contested waters off the northwest Philippines, three Philippine fishing vessels were targeted by the Chinese coast guard and allied ships on Saturday with water cannons in an effort to deter them from approaching Scarborough Shoal.

That caused “significant damage” to the communication and navigation equipment of one of the three Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources vessel, Philippine officials said. They added that suspected militia vessels accompanying Chinese coast guard ships used a long-range acoustic device that could impair hearing, causing “severe temporary discomfort and incapacitation to some Filipino crew.”

The Philippines claims that in earlier confrontations this year on the high seas, Chinese coast guard vessels temporarily blinded Filipino crewmen with a military-grade laser and participated in risky blocking and shadowing actions, leading to minor collisions.

More tensions loom.

“The Philippines will not be deterred from exercising our legal rights over our maritime zones,” the Philippine government task force said.

A flotilla of 40 civilian fishing boats, backed by Philippine coast guard escort ships, initially was en route Sunday to Second Thomas Shoal but decided to proceed first to two Philippine-occupied islets in the South China Sea to deliver Christmas food packs.

From there, organizers will reassess before the flotilla proceeds with a plan to sail along the vicinity of the Second Thomas Shoal, said one of the organizers, Rafaela David, who denounced the latest Chinese action.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE…