Philippines summons China envoy over water cannon attack

Philippines summons China envoy over water cannon attack
Philippines summons China envoy over water cannon attack

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - This frame grab from handout video footage taken and released on April 30, 2024 by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) shows the Philippine Coast Guard ship BRP Bagacay being hit by water cannon from Chinese coast guard vessels near the chinese-controlled Scarborough shoal in disputed waters of the South China Sea. — AFP / Philippine Coast Guard pic

MANILA, May 2 — The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs said Thursday it summoned a senior Chinese embassy official over the “harassment of Philippine vessels” in the South China Sea.

“The Philippines protested the harassment, ramming, swarming, shadowing and blocking, dangerous manoeuvres, use of water cannons, and other aggressive actions of China Coast Guard and Chinese Maritime Militia vessels against” Filipino government vessels, it said in a statement.

Manila said it summoned Zhou Zhiyong, the number two official at the Chinese embassy in Manila, over the April 30 incident that damaged a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel and a Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) boat near the China-controlled Scarborough Shoal.

“China’s aggressive actions, particularly its water cannon use, caused damage to vessels of PCG and BFAR. The Philippines demanded that Chinese vessels leave Bajo de Masinloc and its vicinity immediately,” it said, using the Filipino name for the shoal.

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The Chinese embassy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Manila and Beijing have a long history of territorial disputes in the South China Sea, with several collisions involving Philippine and Chinese vessels in recent months, as well as the use of water cannon by the China Coast Guard.

The latest incident happened near the China-controlled Scarborough Shoal, which has long been a potential flashpoint, during a mission to resupply Filipino fishermen.

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On Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lin Jian told reporters the China Coast Guard took “necessary measures” against Philippine vessels that infringed on Beijing’s territory.

These measures were “in accordance with the law, and the way it handled the situation was professional,” Lin said according to transcripts released by the Chinese embassy in Manila.

Tuesday’s incident came as the Philippines and the United States held a major annual military exercise that has infuriated Beijing. — AFP

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