The Philippines has called out Chinese Coast Guard Vessels for making dangerous manoeuvres and firing water cannons at its ships in the highly contested South China Sea, making the situation tense.
Video Credits: OneIndia News
When the incident happened, the Philippine Coast Guard Vessels were Escorting ships loaded with supplies for the military deployed in Ayungin Shoal or Second Thomas Shoal, in Spratly Islands Chain, which China calls the Nansha Islands.
China refers to the particular shoal as the Renai Reef.
Responding to the accusations, China said the Philippines had trespassed in its territorial waters.
Gan Yu, spokesman for the China Coast Guard, said- “Two Filipino supply vessels and two coast guard vessels illegally intruded into the waters adjacent to Renai Reef in China’s Nansha Islands,”
He added that China retaliated per law by preventing Philippine vessels from carrying illegal construction materials. He urged the Philippines to stop its unlawful activities in the area.
He also reinstated the Chinese claim on the islands and the South China Sea.
The US came forward to support the Philipinnes and asked China to respect all nations’ freedom of navigation.
The US also said China has no lawful claim to the maritime region near the Second Thomas Shoal.
The skirmishes in the South China Sea are not new since the strategic water body has been a bone of contention between Manila and Beijing.
China claims sovereignty over 1.3 million square miles of the South China Sea, including most of its islands, such as Spratlys, an island group comprising 100 small islands and reefs claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.
The conflict is evident in the name used by different nations to refer to this water body. Manila calls it the West Philippine Sea, and in 1999 it deliberately grounded a Naval Vessel called BRP Sierra Madre on Second Thomas Shoal to reiterate its claim on the area.
The philippine has repeatedly blamed Chinese ships for harassing Filipino fishers nearby.
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