China Just Harassed Filipino Vessels and Blasted Them With Powerful Water Cannons
Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked and fired water cannons to drive off two Philippine supply boats that were supposed to transport food to Filipino soldiers in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Thursday, condemning the incident.
While no one was hurt, the Philippine boats had to abort their supply mission on Tuesday, Nov. 16 due to the actions of the Chinese, Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. said, citing a report from the Western Command in Palawan.
BRP Sierra Madre, the Grounded Ship that Serves as the Philippines' Outpost in Ayungin Shoal
"The acts of the Chinese Coast Guard vessels are illegal. China has no law enforcement rights in and around these areas. They must take heed and back off," Locsin said in a statement.
"I reminded China that a public vessel is covered by the Philippines-United States Mutual Defense Treaty," he said.
Ayungin Shoal, also known as Second Thomas Shoal, is part of the Kalayaan Group of Islands (Spratly Islands) parts of which are occupied by the Philippines.
While there are conflicting claims with other countries such as China and Malaysia over the Kalayaan Group of Islands, the Philippines insists that it has jurisdiction over the rich fishing grounds since it is part of Manila's continental shelf.
Locsin warned China that the incident "threatens" the "special relationship" between Manila and Beijing that was renewed under President Rodrigo Duterte's term.
He said he conveyed to Beijing's envoy in Manila, Huang Xilian, "our outrage, condemnation and protest of the incident."
"The Philippines will continue to provide supplies to our troops in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal). We do not ask permission to do what we need to do in our territory," Locsin said.
Malacañang on Thursday also assured Filipinos that the government would continue to defend the Philippines' rights in the disputed waters.
"As we have in the past, we will continue to assert our sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction over our territory," Acting Palace spokesperson Karlo Nograles said.
This story originally appeared on Reportr.World. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.