According to the Philippines, the Chinese Coast Guard blocked and fired water cannons at two of its service vessels in the exclusive economic zone.
Three Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked and fired water cannons at two Philippine service boats in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the controversial South China Sea, the Philippines said.
Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin said the incident took place near Ayung Shoal (another Thomas Shoal) on 16 November and Philippine ships carrying food to nearby military personnel were forced to leave the mission. No injuries were reported.
“The actions of Chinese Coast Guard vessels are illegal,” Locsin said in a statement shared by the State Department on social media. “China has no law enforcement rights in and around these areas. They need to be considered and retreat.”
China is demanding almost the entire South China Sea on the basis of the so-called “nine-line line,” which the International Court of Justice unjustifiably ruled five years ago. Beijing has ignored the verdict, but has built artificial islands and deployed its fleet, coastguard and fishing vessels in the controversial sea, which has also been called for by the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan.
Locsin blamed China for the failure of self-control and said he had conveyed Manila’s “rage, condemnation and protest” case to the Chinese ambassador.
Ayung Shoal is part of the Kalayaan Islands and the Philippine EEZ, which stretches for 370 kilometers (200 nautical miles) from its coast.
Earlier this year, the Philippines complained of decades of Chinese so-called naval militia presence on the Whitsun Reef, located about 320 kilometers (175 nautical miles) west of the island of Palawan in its exclusive economic zone.
In 2012, China forcibly took control of Scarborough Reef, located 229 kilometers (124 nautical miles) from the island of Luzon in the Philippines.