Philippines says Chinese envoy summoned over ‘aggressive actions’ off reef

Philippines says Chinese envoy summoned over ‘aggressive actions’ off reef
Philippines says Chinese envoy summoned over ‘aggressive actions’ off reef

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A Chinese Coast Guard ship (top) manoeuvering past a Philippine Coast Guard ship near Sandy Cay reef, near the Philippine-held Thitu Island in Spratly Islands. — AFP pic/Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)

MANILA, March 25 — The Philippines said today it had summoned a Chinese envoy over “aggressive actions” by the China Coast Guard and other vessels near a reef off the South-east Asian country’s coast.

Manila conveyed its “strong protest against the aggressive actions undertaken by the China Coast Guard and Chinese Maritime Militia against the rotation and resupply mission undertaken by the Philippines in Ayungin Shoal” on Saturday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said, using the Filipino name for Second Thomas Shoal, which is in the South China Sea.

The Philippines said the China Coast Guard blocked a Filipino supply vessel and damaged it with water cannon on Saturday, injuring three soldiers.

It is the same location where Chinese ships have unleashed water cannon and collided with Filipino vessels in similar stand-offs in recent months.

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China claims almost the entire South China Sea, brushing off rival claims from other countries including the Philippines and an international ruling that its assertion has no legal basis.

Despite the attack, Philippine officials said the damaged vessel and a coast guard escort ship that came to its aid later deployed rigid-hull inflatable boats to deliver its cargo and personnel to the Filipino outpost.

Filipino soldiers stationed on the shoal live on a derelict navy ship, the BRP Sierra Madre, and require frequent resupplies for food, water and other necessities as well as transport for personnel rotations. — AFP

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