THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Sunday condemned the China Coast Guard (CCG) for its “excessive and unlawful actions” against Filipino vessels engaged in a “routine troop rotation and resupply” (RORE) mission last August 5.
This was after a CCG vessel “blocked and water cannoned” one of the chartered supply boats while it was en route to Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, AFP Spokesman Col. Medel Aguilar was quoted in a statement issued last Sunday.
Aguilar added that the Chinese vessel did this without thinking about the safety of those aboard and in violation of international law.
“One of our chartered supply boats was blocked and water cannoned by a CCG vessel yesterday, August 5, while en route to Ayungin Shoal for a routine troop rotation and resupply mission, in wanton disregard of the safety of the people on board and in violation of international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) and the 2016 Arbitral Award,” Aguilar said. (Related story: “3 Quad members, senators hit China’s Ayungin blockade.”)
And because of the CCG’s dangerous maneuvers, the AFP spokesperson said the second supply boat was not able to unload the supplies and could not complete the RORE mission.
“We call on the CCG and the Central Military Commission to act with prudence and be responsible in their actions to prevent miscalculations and accidents that will endanger peoples’ lives,” Aguilar said.
A report by China Daily quoted a spokesman of the China Coast Guard (CCG) as saying the CCG “expelled four Philippine vessels that illegally entered the waters near the Ren’ai Reef last Saturday in accordance with the law.”
Gan Yu, the spokesman, said in a brief statement that “without” Chinese government approval, “two Philippine supply vessels and two Philippine coast guard vessels illegally entered waters adjacent to the Ren’ai Reef of China’s Nansha Islands on Saturday.”
The China Daily report added that the Chinese coast guard merely conducted “necessary control” in accordance with the law and prevented the Philippine ships carrying “illegal construction materials.”
Gan, said China Daily, urged the Philippines “to immediately stop its infringing activities in the waters, stressing that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters, including the Ren’ai Reef.”
The CCG “will continuously carry out rights protection and law enforcement activities in the waters under China’s jurisdiction in accordance with law,” China Daily, the official government owned English-language newspaper of the People’s Republic of China, further quoted Gan as saying.
Image credits: Philippine Coast Guard via AP