Philippines says coast guard ship and its supply boat were attacked by Chinese ships near disputed shoal

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Chinese Coast Guard vessel and one of its militia vessels separately collided with a Philippine Coast Guard ship and a military-operated supply boat on Sunday off disputed shoals in the Philippines. South China Sea “Dangerous, irresponsible and illegal actions,” Philippine officials said.

They did not say whether there were injuries or damage resulting from the two incidents off the Thomas Shoal II River, which were carried out by the United States Longtime treaty ally Philippines, immediately convicted. It also condemned the Philippine government The last confrontation “In the strongest degree” and described it as a violation of Manila’s sovereignty.

Chinese embassy officials did not immediately comment on the Philippine report.

“The United States condemns the recent disruption by the People’s Republic of China of a lawful Philippine resupply mission to the Yungin Shoal, endangering the lives of Philippine service members,” US Ambassador to Manila Mary Kay Carlson said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “to danger.” “.

It used the initials of China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China, and the name used by the Philippines for Second Thomas Shoal. She added that Washington stands with its allies to help protect Philippine sovereignty and support a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

a Philippine government The task force said the collisions occurred while two Philippine supply boats accompanied by two Philippine Coast Guard ships were heading to deliver food and other supplies to the atoll in the face of a years-long Chinese blockade.

The task force said it “strongly condemns the dangerous, irresponsible and illegal actions of the Chinese Coast Guard and Chinese Maritime Militia this morning in violation of the Philippines’ sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction.”

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The Philippine Task Force, which includes the country’s defense forces, said the actions of the Chinese ships were “in complete disregard of the UN Charter, UNCLOS” and international regulations aimed at preventing maritime collisions. And the departments of Foreign Affairs, the Army, the National Security Council, and the Coast Guard.

Close collisions have occurred frequently as Philippine ships regularly deliver supplies to Philippine Marines and sailors stationed in the disputed shoals. But this was the first time that Philippine officials announced that their country’s ships had been hit by Chinese ships.

In the first incident that occurred on Sunday morning, “dangerous blocking maneuvers of Chinese Coast Guard Vessel No. 5203 caused it to collide with the original resupply boat Unayzah contracted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines on May 2,” the task force statement said. It said the Chinese coast guard ship’s “provocative, irresponsible and illegal behavior” had “endangered the crew’s safety.”

Separately, the statement said the left side of the Philippine Coast Guard ship BRP Capra “collided with Chinese maritime militia ship 00003 while it was lying” northeast of Second Thomas Shoal.

Despite the blockade imposed by the Chinese Coast Guard, one of the two Philippine Navy boats was able to maneuver in front of the Chinese ships and deliver supplies to the small unit stationed aboard a warship that has long been stranded but is still actively operating. BRP Sierra MadreThe task force said.

It was the latest escalation of long-running territorial disputes in the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest trade routes. The conflicts involving China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei are considered a potential flashpoint and have become a delicate fault line in the US-China rivalry in the region.

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In early August, a Chinese Coast Guard vessel used a water cannon against one of two Philippine supply boats to prevent it from approaching Second Thomas Shoal. The move, which was captured on video, angered President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and prompted the Foreign Ministry in Manila to summon the Chinese ambassador to lodge a strong protest.

Washington responded by renewing its warning that it was obligated to defend the Philippines as a treaty ally.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry accused Washington of “threatening China” by raising the possibility of activating the US-Philippines mutual defense treaty. Beijing has repeatedly warned the United States against interfering in regional territorial disputes.

Later in August, the Philippines again deployed two boats that bypassed the Chinese Coast Guard blockade and delivered supplies to Filipino forces at Second Thomas Shoal. However, Chinese Coast Guard ships prevented two Philippine Coast Guard ships escorting supply boats from maneuvering near the shallow waters. A US Navy surveillance plane flew in circles to support the Philippine ships as the standoff continued for more than three hours.

A 2016 arbitration ruling under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea invalidated Beijing’s claims on historical grounds over almost the entire South China Sea. China has refused to participate in the arbitration requested by the Philippines, has rejected the award and continues to challenge it.

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