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Philippine coast guard condemns China's use of water cannons against its boats
Published on: Sunday, August 06, 2023
By: Bernama
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Philippine coast guard condemns China's use of water cannons against its boats
For illustrative purposes only. - istockphoto
MOSCOW: The coast guard of the Philippines (PSG) has "strongly condemned" the use of water cannons against its vessels escorting indigenous boats by China's coast guard near a disputed reef in the South China Sea, PSG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela said Sunday, reported Sputnik.

"The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) strongly condemns the China Coast Guard's (CCG's) dangerous manoeuvres and illegal use of water cannons against the PCG vessels escorting the indigenous boats chartered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday, Aug 5, 2023.

“Such actions by the CCG not only disregarded the safety of the PCG crew and the supply boats but also violated international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), and the 2016 Arbitral Award," Tarriela said on X (formerly known as Twitter).

The commodore added that the boats were delivering supplies, including food, water and fuel, to the Philippine military stationed in Ayungin Shoal, also known as Second Thomas Shoal.

PSG has called on China's coast guard "to restrain its forces, respect the sovereign rights of the Philippines in its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, refrain from hampering freedom of navigation, and take appropriate actions against the individuals involved in this unlawful incident." PSG has also asked Beijing "to cease all illegal activities within the maritime zones of the Philippines," Tarriela added.

In July, PSG accused Chinese coast guard ships of preventing its vessels from approaching the reef. The Chinese Foreign Ministry rejected the Philippines' accusation, saying that "the Chinese maritime police ships enforced the law in line with regulations" and "acted professionally and proportionately to safeguard China's territorial sovereignty and maritime order".

The reef, known as Ren'ai Jiao in China and Ayungin Shoal in the Philippines, is part of the disputed Spratly Islands, a major archipelago that China and several other Asian nations lay rival claims to. The Philippines grounded a navy transport ship, BRP Sierra Madre, on the reef in 1999 to house a contingent of marines.

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