Philippine Coast Guard BRP Melchora Aquino (MRRV-9702) patrol ship (L) and US Coast Guard Cutter Stratton (WMSL-752) patrol ship (R) maneuver during a search and rescue exercise in the South China Sea, Philippines, 06 June 2023. EFE/EPA/FILE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

Philippines says China fired water cannon on its vessel

Manila, Nov 10 (EFE).- The Philippines accused China on Friday of firing a water cannon at a ship carrying supplies to a detachment of Filipino soldiers in the disputed waters in the South China Sea.

A Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessel “deployed a water cannon against Philippine supply vessel M/L Kalayaan in an illegal, though unsuccessful attempt to force the latter to alter course,” said the National Security Council of Philippines in a statement.

The supply boats were “subject to extremely reckless and dangerous harassment at close proximity by CCG” but the boats reached their destination.

The incident comes two weeks after the Philippines summoned the Chinese ambassador in Manila amid escalating tensions after two collisions between vessels from the two countries in a maneuver that Manila called “provocative, irresponsible, and illegal” in the South China Sea.

China, for its part, called that incident a “provocation” on the part of the Philippines and accused the US, Manila’s historical ally in the region, of “instigating” the conflict and worsening relations between the two Asian countries.

Faced with growing tension with Beijing, the Philippines’ Ministry of Defense announced in October that it would seek to garner greater international support in its territorial dispute with China.

China and the Philippines maintain a conflict over the sovereignty of several islands and atolls in the South China Sea, which Manila calls the West Philippine Sea. Beijing claims these islands almost entirely for “historical reasons.”

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in favor of Manila in its dispute with China over territorial claims. Despite the ruling, Beijing has refused to comply. EFE