Philippines Accuses Chinese Coast Guard of Shooting Water Cannon at Its Boats

World Defense

Philippines Accuses Chinese Coast Guard of Shooting Water Cannon at Its Boats

On Saturday, the Philippines accused the Chinese coast guard of obstructing three government boats delivering provisions to Filipino fishermen near the Scarborough Shoal, a contested area in the South China Sea. The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea condemned what it termed as "illegal and aggressive actions" by the Chinese Coast Guard and Maritime Militia, alleging the use of water cannons to hinder the delivery of fuel and food supplies.

This incident unfolded near the Scarborough Shoal, a focal point of tension between Manila and Beijing, as China asserts control over most of the South China Sea. Chinese state television defended the actions, stating that the coast guard employed "control measures in accordance with the law" against Philippine vessels that had allegedly intruded into the waters around the shoal.

The Scarborough Shoal, located 240 kilometers west of Luzon, the Philippines main island, has been a source of contention since China seized control in 2012. Patrol boats deployed by Beijing have been accused of harassing Philippine vessels and preventing local fishermen from accessing the rich fishing grounds in the area.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, countries have jurisdiction over natural resources within approximately 200 nautical miles of their shores. The international community criticized China for its actions, with the US ambassador to Manila condemning the "aggressive, illegal actions" and Japan expressing serious concern about the Chinese coast guard behavior.

Videos released by the Philippine Coast Guard depicted the Chinese Coast Guard using water cannons against Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessels, resulting in significant damage to one boat communication and navigation equipment. Some Filipino crew members experienced discomfort and incapacitation due to the use of a presumed "long-range acoustic device" by the Chinese vessels.

Despite the Permanent Court of Arbitration 2016 ruling that China claims in the South China Sea lack legal basis, tensions persist in the region. The Philippines and China, along with Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan, have competing claims in the contested waters, creating an ongoing source of maritime incidents.

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