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The BRP Sierra Madre, a marooned transport ship which Philippine Marines live on as a military outpost, is pictured in the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea March 30, 2014. (Erik De Castro/Reuters) The Philippines has told China to “back off” from its territorial zone, reporting that three ships from the Chinese coastguard had blocked and used water cannons on two Filipino supply boats en route to a Philippine-occupied shoal in the disputed South China Sea.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said on Nov. 18 that the Filipino boats were transporting food supplies to military personnel stationed in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) on Nov. 16 when they were forced to abort the mission.
Second Thomas Shoal lies off western Palawan province in the Philippines’ internationally recognised exclusive economic zone. The Philippines has occupied the shoal since 1999 after intentionally grounding a navy ship on the reef.
“Ayungin Shoal is part of the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), which is an integral part of the Philippines, as well as the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, and over which the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction,” Locsin wrote in a statement shared on social media by the foreign ministry.
The Philippine government also condemned the three Chinese coastguard vessels’ illegal actions, directing them to “take the heed and back off,” reminding China that a public vessel is covered under the Philippines-United States Mutual Defence Treaty.
China’s failure “to exercise self-restraint threatens the special relationship” between the two countries, Locsin said, adding that he has conveyed “in the strongest term” to the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines “outrage, condemnation and protest” over the incident.
At the time of publication, China’s foreign ministry had not released a statement on the incident.
No injuries have been reported from the incident. Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. gestures during a senate hearing in Manila, Philippines, on Feb. 6, 2020. (Aaron Favila/AP Photo) Prior to the incident, the Philippine government had previously lodged a diplomatic protest against China’s repeated disruptive acts toward Philippine authorities patrolling the South China Sea.
The Filipino […]
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