In this photo provided by the Philippine Coast Guard, a Chinese coast guard ship, front, allegedly blocks the path of a Philippine coast guard ship near the Philippine-occupied Second Thomas Shoal, South China Sea, during a resupply mission Aug. 5, 2023.

Philippines Condemns China’s Use of Water Cannon on its Boat In Disputed Sea

Associated Press

In this photo provided by the Philippine Coast Guard, a Chinese coast guard ship, front, allegedly blocks the path of a Philippine coast guard ship near the Philippine-occupied Second Thomas Shoal, South China Sea, during a resupply mission Aug. 5, 2023.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The Philippine military on Sunday condemned a Chinese coast guard ship’s “excessive and offensive” use of a water cannon to block a Philippine supply boat from delivering new troops, food, water and fuel to a Philippine-occupied shoal in the disputed South China Sea.

The tense confrontation Saturday at the Second Thomas Shoal was the latest flare-up in the long-seething territorial conflicts involving China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.

The disputes in the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest sea lanes, have long been regarded as an Asian flashpoint and a delicate fault line in the rivalry between the United States and China in the region.

Philippine navy personnel on board two chartered supply boats were cruising toward Second Thomas, escorted by Philippine coast guard ships, when a Chinese coast guard ship approached and used a powerful water cannon to block the Filipinos from the shoal that China also claims, according to Philippine military and coast guard officials.

The Chinese ship’s action was “in wanton disregard of the safety of the people on board” the Philippine navy-chartered boat and violated international law, including the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, said the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which did not say if any of its sailors were injured.

The “excessive and offensive actions against Philippine vessels” near the shoal prevented one of the two Filipino boats from unloading supplies needed by Filipino troops guarding the shoal onboard a long-marooned Philippine navy ship, the BRP Sierra Madre, the Philippine military said in a statement.

It called on the Chinese coast guard and China’s central military commission “to act with prudence and be responsible in their actions to prevent miscalculations and accidents that will endanger peoples’ lives.”

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