Philippines slams China for use of water cannon on boat

A tense confrontation between a Philippine vessel and China’s coast guard took place in the highly disputed South China Sea over the Second Thomas Shoal

China's coast guard ship on the disputed South China Sea. (photo: DW)
China's coast guard ship on the disputed South China Sea. (photo: DW)


The Philippines on Sunday, August 6, accused a Chinese coast guard of "excessive and offensive" use of water cannons to stop a Filipino supply boat carrying food, water, fuel and new army personnel to a Philippine-occupied shoal in the disputed South China Sea.

"The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) strongly condemns the China Coast Guard's (CCG) dangerous maneuvers and illegal use of water cannons against the PCG vessels," the Philippine Coast Guard said.

Condemning the belligerence allegedly shown by the Chinese coast guard, the Philippines' armed forces said the Chinese vessel's actions were "in wanton disregard of the safety of the people on board and in violation of international law."

The encounter between the Filipino boat and the Chinese vessel took place when Philippine navy personnel were moving towards Second Thomas in the Spratly Islands, according to Philippines officials.

Because of the clash, a second chartered boat was unable to drop supplies, military spokesman Colonel Medel Aguilar said in a statement.

"We call on the China Coast Guard and the Central Military Commission to act with prudence and be responsible in their actions to prevent miscalculations and accidents that will endanger people's lives," the armed forces said.

China's coast guard has said that its actions were compliant with the law and responded by saying that China has "indisputable" sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and their adjacent waters, including the Second Thomas Shoal. It alleged that the Filipino boat was trespassing and carrying illegal construction material.

"Two repair ships and two coast guard ships from the Philippines illegally broke into the waters... in China's Nansha Islands," China Coast Guard spokesperson Gan Yu said, adding that Beijing "implemented necessary controls in accordance with the law and stopped Philippine ships carrying illegal building materials."

Spate of skirmishes in South China Sea

Maritime disputes have remained a regular affair in the South China Sea, which is the busiest maritime crossroads for trade and holds geopolitical significance.

China claims that it holds sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea — an assertion that is vehemently contested internationally. The tussle over the region very often leads to skirmishes between China and its neighbors.

The US too often intervenes and slams China for its aggressive actions but China has warned the US against interfering in what it calls an Asian dispute.

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