Philippines claims China used water cannons to target Ships in the South China Sea
7 August, 2023 | Anamika Singh Parihar
The Philippines accuses Chinese Coast Guard ships of dangerous maneuvers and water cannon use in the South China Sea, escorting supplies to military troops in Ayungin Shoal, China's Nansha Islands.
The Philippines has lodged a complaint against Chinese Coast Guard vessels for engaging in risky maneuvers and employing water cannons against Philippine ships in the South China Sea. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) expressed strong condemnation of these actions by the China Coast Guard (CCG) in a statement posted on its official Facebook page over the weekend.
The incident occurred as PCG ships were providing protection to vessels transporting essential provisions to military personnel stationed at Ayungin Shoal, also referred to as Second Thomas Shoal, situated within the Spratly Islands chain. These islands are known as the Nansha Islands in Chinese terminology.
In a statement issued on Sunday, China in turn accused the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) of entering its waters without permission.
The China coast guard implemented the necessary controls per the law and prevented the Philippine vessels from carrying the illegal construction materials. We urge the Philippine side to immediately stop its infringing activities in that maritime area,” Gan Yu, a spokesman for the China Coast Guard, said in his statement.
Meanwhile, the US State Department expressed solidarity and its full support for the Philippines and urged China to uphold the principle of unobstructed maritime passage.
“(China) has no lawful claim to the maritime area around Second Thomas Shoal, the US State Department stated on Saturday, August 5.
The South China Sea has been considered one of the most highly contested regions in the world.
China asserts “undeniable sovereignty” over nearly the entire expanse of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea, along with most of the islands within it. This encompasses the Spratlys, a cluster of 100 small islands and reefs that are also subject to full or partial claims by the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.
On the other hand, Manila refers to the region as the West Philippine Sea. In 1999, it deliberately grounded a naval transport vessel, the BRP Sierra Madre, on the Second Thomas Shoal, where Filipino marines were stationed, as a means of asserting its territorial rights over the area.
Philippine maritime officials have alleged that Chinese ships have been engaging in disruptive actions toward Filipino fishermen in the nearby vicinity.
The relationship between both countries has deteriorated continuously as China’s assertiveness in the region has increased over the last few years.