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PH accuses Chinese coast guard of firing water cannon at resupply boat in Ayungin Shoal

The Philippines accused the Chinese coast guard Friday of firing water cannon at a boat carrying provisions to Filipino troops on a remote outpost in the West Philippine Sea.

"CCG vessel 5203 deployed water cannon against Philippine supply vessel M/L Kalayaan in an illegal though unsuccessful attempt to force the latter to alter course," a Philippine government task force said in a statement.

"We condemn, once again, China's latest unprovoked acts of coercion and dangerous maneuvers against a legitimate and routine Philippine rotation and resupply mission," it said.

China's coast guard, meanwhile, urged the Philippines to stop infringing on the country's sovereignty after several Philippine resupply vessels entered into waters near the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea.

The Philippines also calls Second Thomas Shoal as Ayungin Shoal.


In light of the incident, the Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest against China.

In a statement, the National Task Force - West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) insisted that the Chinese vessels involved in these “illegal activities” should leave the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal immediately.

“The Philippine Embassy in Beijing has demarched the Chinese foreign ministry and protested these actions,” the NTF-WPS said.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs has also reached out to them and conveyed our protest directly through the Maritime Communications Mechanism,” it added.

Aside from the use of water cannon, the task force said CCG and Chinese Maritime Militia vessels also recklessly harassed, blocked, and executed dangerous maneuvers against the Philippines ships.

“CCG vessel 5203 deployed a water cannon against Philippine supply vessel M/L Kalayaan in an illegal though unsuccessful attempt to force the latter to alter course,” it said.

“Supply boats Unaizah Mae 1 (UM1) and M/L Kalayaan were also subjected to extremely reckless and dangerous harassment at close proximity by CCG rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIB) inside Ayungin Shoal lagoon during their approach to BRP Sierra Madre,” it added.

According to a "24 Oras" report by Chino Gaston, the resupply boat were being escorted by Philippine Coast Guard vessels BRP Cabra, BRP Sindangan and the bigger offshore patrol vessel BRP Melchora Aquino.

China statement on the incident

China's coast guard said two small Philippine transport ships and three coast guard ships entered the waters adjacent to the Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, without the permission of the Chinese government.

"The China coast guard has followed Philippine vessels in accordance with the law, taken control measures, and made temporary special arrangements for the Philippine side to transport food and other necessary daily necessities," the Chinese coast guard said in a statement.

"We urge the Philippines to immediately stop its violations of China's territorial sovereignty," the statement said. 

The shoal is within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

China rejects that and says it has sovereignty over the Spratlys, known in China as the Nansha Islands, and its adjacent waters.

The two countries have had several confrontations during the past few months in the region, and China has condemned Philippine resupply missions to the shoal. --Agence France-Presse and Reuters with GMA Integrated News