Saturday, July 20, 2024

South China Sea: Philippine and Chinese ships collide in disputed waters

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Philippines accuses China of causing “severe damage” to a boat’s engine after using water cannon

In the latest land dispute between the two countries in the South China Sea, a Philippine boat and a Chinese ship collided near the rocks.

The Philippines said China had “harassed, prevented and executed dangerous maneuvers”.

This comes a day after the Philippines accused China of using water cannons to intercept three of its ships.

The South China Sea is at the center of ongoing disputes between China, the Philippines and other countries.

The Philippines said on Sunday that China had targeted Philippine civilian supply ships at the Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands, a sticking point between the two countries.

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea said in a statement that one of the two boats carrying the goods was attacked by a Chinese coast guard vessel.

It also accused China of causing “severe damage” to a boat’s engine using water cannon.

But the Chinese coast guard accused the Philippine boat of “deliberately ramming” the Chinese vessel “in disregard of our many stern warnings”.

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See: Chinese ships “shoot water at Philippine ships”

After the Philippines accused China of using war cannons to intercept three of its ships on Saturday, it called the actions “illegal and aggressive”. Beijing said it had used so-called “control measures” against ships that had entered its territorial waters.

Friction between the two countries over competing sovereignty claims has escalated since the inauguration of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as Philippine president last year.

Last month, the Philippines conducted two separate air and sea patrols with the US and a few days earlier with Australia.

An international tribunal invalidated China’s claim to 90% of the South China Sea in 2016, but Beijing does not recognize the ruling and has been building islands in the disputed waters in recent years.

The contested waters have also become a naval flashpoint for Sino-US relations, and US President Joe Biden warned in October that the US would defend the Philippines in the event of an attack.

President Biden’s comments came two days after Philippine and Chinese ships collided at sea.

Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei also claim parts of the sea.

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