The Philippines on Wednesday further charged China for “blocking” the passage of two of its two vessels in the waters of the South China Sea.
Jay Tarriela, a spokesperson for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), mentioned on Twitter that the two Chinese vessels were engaged in risky manoeuvres to prevent two PCG vessels from accessing the Ayungin Shoal for a mission conducted in the West Philippine Sea on 30 June.
Beijing and Manila have counterclaims in the South China Sea that have observed persistent tensions between the two maritime neighbors.
Tarriela mentioned that during the operation, the PCG vessel was followed constantly, obstructed, and harassed by the larger Coast Guard vessels of China at a distance of about 100 yards.
He added that the navy of the Philippines was concerned regarding the presence of two Navy ships from China. The vessels were on the island of Ayungin Shoal (the Second Thomas Shoal).
This is specifically risky as the Philippine Navy’s naval mission is humanitarian. Irrespective of this, China has deployed its warships, raising greater concerns, he mentioned.
In April, the Philippines and China made some conflicting claims regarding an incident that involved vessels from the maritime neighbors.
The PCG said that on 23 April (in the morning), two Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessels reportedly intercepted the PCG ships in Ayungin Shoal’s vicinity.
Beijing, however, claimed that Manila’s vessels intruded on its territorial waters.
References: France 24, Reuters
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