DFA summons Chinese envoy over water bombing of PH vessels

THE Philippine government on Monday summoned Chinese Ambassador to Manila Huang Xilian to protest the water bombing of Philippine vessels on a resupply mission to the Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it has “firmly asked” China to stop its vessels from committing “illegal action against Philippine vessels and to stop interfering in legitimate Philippine activities.”

“A note verbale was issued during the summon of Chinese Ambassador by

Undersecretary [Ma. Theresa] Lazaro this morning,” said DFA Spokesman Ma. Teresita Daza in a joint press briefing with members of the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea.

“In terms of statistics as of August 7, the Philippines has filed 445 diplomatic protests since 2020,” she said.

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Daza added that for 2023 the DFA had 35 diplomatic protests. “This includes the note verbale hand delivered during the summon of the [Chinese] ambassador.”

The DFA also urged China to comply with its obligation under international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2016 Arbitral Award in the South China Sea.

She said Lazaro conveyed to Huang “the strong protest of the Philippine government of water canon operation by the Chinese Coast Guard and Chinese maritime militia vessels against Philippine indigenous boats conducting regular rotation resupply and humanitarian mission to provide food, fuel, and other basic necessities with the Philippine military personnel stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.”

The DFA said China’s actions are contrary to its obligation on the 1972 International Regulation for Preventing Collisions at Sea which require States “to take steps necessary to assure safety at sea and prevent collisions.”

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