Philippine allies condemn China’s ‘dangerous, disturbing’ maneuvers in WPS
October 22, 2023 | 3:37pm
MANILA, Philippines — Allies of the Philippines condemned Sunday the moves of Chinese vessels to block boats on a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre, resulting in collisions in the West Philippine Sea.
The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea reported that the blocking maneuvers of a China Coast Guard vessel caused it to collide with a boat contracted by the military for the resupply mission to Filipino troops at Ayungin Shoal.
It also said that a Chinese maritime militia vessel “bumped” a Philippine Coast Guard vessel escorting the routine resupply mission.
“The United States condemned the People’s Republic of China’s latest disruption of a legal Philippine resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal, putting the lives of Filipino service members at risk,” US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson said on X.
European Union Ambassador Luc Veron also expressed concern, saying that “these incidents, their repetition and intensification are dangerous and very disturbing.”
The Canadian Embassy, for its part, called Beijing’s actions “unjustified.”
“China has no lawful claim to the West Philippine Sea. Its actions are incompatible with the obligations of a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” the embassy said.
It added that continuing acts of intimidation and coercion undermine safety, stability, and security across the region, and increase the risk of miscalculation.
According to the NTF-WPS, a second resupply boat successfully reached the grounded BRP Sierra Madre and unloaded supplies for the troops stationed there.
China blames Philippines
Video released by the Philippine military showed the bow of the CCG ship and the stern of the resupply vessel briefly touching. It is not clear if there was any damage.
But China claimed that the “slight collision” occurred after the resupply boat ignored “multiple warnings and deliberately passed through law enforcement in an unprofessional and dangerous manner,” state broadcaster CCTV reported, citing the foreign ministry.
Beijing also accused the PCG vessel of “deliberately” stirring up trouble and reversing in a “premeditated manner.”
China asserts sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, despite the international court ruling in 2016 that deemed its stance to have no legal basis.
Its coast guard, navy and maritime militia vessels routinely block or shadow Philippine patrol and supply boats.
In August, tensions escalated when the China Coast Guard used water cannons against a Philippine resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre, preventing one of the boats from delivering supplies. — with report from Agence France-Presse