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Philippines accuses Chinese ships of "ramming" and damaging boats in South China Sea

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On Monday, the Philippine government accused Chinese vessels of ramming and damaging its boats in the South China Sea near the Second Thomas Shoal, which hosts a Filipino military garrison.

According to Manila's national task force on the West Philippine Sea, ships from the People's Liberation Army-Navy, China Coast Guard, and Chinese Maritime Militia engaged in hazardous maneuvers, including ramming and towing. These actions jeopardized the lives of Filipino personnel and caused damage to their boats.

Recent months have seen a rise in confrontations between Chinese and Philippine ships at the Second Thomas Shoal, particularly during Philippine resupply missions to their garrison on the grounded navy vessel Sierra Madre. These missions are part of Manila's efforts to assert its claims to the reef.

The shoal is situated approximately 200 kilometers (120 miles) from Palawan, a western Philippine island, and over 1,000 kilometers from Hainan, China's nearest major landmass.

The Chinese coast guard reported that a Philippine resupply ship ignored numerous warnings and approached a Chinese vessel unprofessionally, leading to a collision. Beijing stated that their actions were "in accordance with the law."

Philippine Defence Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro condemned China's behavior, pledging to defend Philippine sovereignty. He criticized China's actions as obstacles to peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The Philippine government did not specify which boats were rammed or the extent of the damage incurred.

Manila's allies expressed concern over the incident. U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, MaryKay Carlson, condemned China's "aggressive dangerous maneuvers" that caused injuries and damaged Philippine vessels, hindering lawful maritime operations. Japan's Ambassador Endo Kazuya also voiced "grave concern" over China's repeated dangerous actions. French Ambassador Marie Fontanel opposed any threats or use of force contrary to international law.

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TAGS:ChinaPhilippinesSouth China Sea
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