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China says took 'control measures' against Philippine ships in its waters

By AFP

November 10, 2023 11:29 AM


Representational image

China demanded Friday that Manila stop infringing on its territorial sovereignty after taking what it described as "control measures" against Philippine ships at a contested South China Sea outpost.

"The China Coast Guard followed the Philippine ships in accordance with the law, took control measures, and made temporary special arrangements for the Philippines to transport food and other necessary daily supplies," China Coast Guard spokesman Gan Yu said.

"The Philippines' actions infringe on China's territorial sovereignty, violate the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, and are contrary to its own commitments," Gan added.

"We urge the Philippines to immediately stop its infringing actions."

"The China Coast Guard will continue to carry out rights protection and law enforcement actions in waters under China's jurisdiction in accordance with the law, resolutely safeguarding national sovereignty and maritime rights and interests."

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars in trade passes annually, and has ignored a 2016 international ruling that its assertion has no legal basis.

Over the past decade, Beijing has deployed vessels to patrol the waters and built artificial islands that it has militarised to reinforce its stance.

Philippines accuses China of 'dangerous' actions

The Philippines accused the Chinese coast guard Friday of "dangerous harassment" of Filipino boats in the disputed South China Sea, including firing a water cannon.

The latest incident near Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands comes nearly three weeks after two collisions between Chinese and Philippine vessels during a resupply mission to the same tiny garrison.

The countries, which have a long history of maritime disputes in the hotly contested waters, traded blame for those incidents.

On Friday, Manila said the Chinese coast guard and other vessels "recklessly harassed, blocked, executed dangerous maneuvers" as they tried to "illegally impede or obstruct a routine resupply" of Filipino troops at the outpost.

The Philippines' National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea said in a statement a Chinese coast guard vessel had also fired a water cannon against a Philippine boat.

The task force said the Philippine embassy in Beijing lodged a protest with the Chinese foreign ministry over the incident.

But China said it "took control measures" against two Philippine transport ships and three coast guard vessels it insisted were in Chinese waters.

"The Philippines' actions infringe on China's territorial sovereignty," China Coast Guard spokesperson Gan Yu said.

"We urge the Philippines to immediately stop its infringing actions."

A handful of Filipino troops are stationed on the crumbling BRP Sierra Madre, which the Philippine Navy grounded on the reef in 1999 to check China's advance in the waters.

The troops depend on the resupply missions for their survival.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars in trade passes annually, and has ignored a 2016 international ruling that its assertion has no legal basis.

Over the past decade or so, Beijing has deployed vessels to patrol the waters, swarm reefs and built artificial islands that it has militarised to reinforce its stance.

Second Thomas Shoal is about 200 kilometres (124 miles) from the western Philippine island of Palawan, and more than 1,000 kilometres from China's nearest major landmass, Hainan island.

The Marcos administration has publicly criticised Chinese actions in the South China Sea, publishing photos and videos to support its claims of Chinese harassment and the blocking of its vessels.

Beijing has released its own images of the incidents.


AFP


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