China said on Sunday it had taken “necessary controls” against Philippines boats that had “illegally” entered its waters, after Manila accused Beijing’s coast guard of firing water cannon at its vessels in the disputed South China Sea.
“Two repair ships and two coast guard ships from the Philippines illegally broke into the waters… in China’s Nansha Islands,” China Coast Guard (CCG) spokesperson Gan Yu said, adding that Beijing had “implemented necessary controls in accordance with the law and stopped Philippine ships carrying illegal building materials.”
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Sunday the CCG illegally used water cannons against its vessels that were sailing for the Ayungin Shoal to resupply the BRP Sierra Madre.
In a statement, PCG condemned CCG’s “dangerous maneuvers and illegal use of water cannons” against their vessels escorting the indigenous boats chartered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to deliver food, water, fuel, and other supplies to military troops stationed on the Sierra Madre.
“The PCG calls on the China Coast Guard to restrain its forces, respect the sovereign rights of the Philippines in its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, refrain from hampering freedom of navigation, and take appropriate actions against the individuals involved in this unlawful incident,” PCG Spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela said.
The PCG stressed that CCG’s move not only disregarded the safety of the PCG crew and the supply boats, but also violated international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), and the 2016 Arbitral Award.
The Ayungin Shoal is part of the Kalayaan Island Group, which is an integral part of the Philippines, as well as the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, over which the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction.
The AFP also condemned and expressed concern over the incident, which it called “excessive and offensive.”
“We call on the China Coast Guard and the Central Military Commission to act with prudence and be responsible in their actions to prevent miscalculations and accidents that will endanger peoples’ lives,” AFP said. — Agence France-Presse