China's coast guard water cannons a Philippine ship days after the US backed Manila in disputed waters.

Armed Forces of the Philippines

A still image from a video released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.


Hong Kong
CNN

China's coast guard used water cannon against Philippine boats on Saturday in a contested area of ​​the South China Sea, the latest in a series of maritime clashes between the two countries.

The clash comes days after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reiterated Washington's commitment to protect Philippine access to the vast waterway claimed by China, fueling escalating conflicts with its neighbors in recent years.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said a video of the incident showed a Philippine civilian ship suffering “heavy damage” from the water cannon.

Even the AFP Accused The Chinese Coast Guard performs a “dangerous maneuver” across the bow of the resupply vessel before using water cannon.

China later installed floating barriers to “prevent any further entry of vessels,” it said.

The Philippine Coast Guard vessel was “intercepted and surrounded” by a Chinese coast guard vessel and two Chinese “maritime combatant” vessels, cutting it off from the resupply boat, the agency said.

“The vessel was isolated from the resupply vessel due to the reckless and provocative behavior of the Chinese maritime forces, who disregarded the Convention on International Norms for the Prevention of Conflicts at Sea,” Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Jay Darilla said. Mail In X.

Beijing and Manila have long contested the second Thomas Shoal, which is about 200 kilometers (125 miles) off the coast of the Philippine island of Palawan. In the 1990s the Philippine PRP grounded the Sierra Madre, an aging World War II-era naval transport ship, on the shoal. The ship is now mostly a rusted wreck and has been decommissioned by the Philippine Navy.

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The latest clashes occurred when the Philippines tried to resupply forces on the Sierra Madre.

AFP reported that one of the ships involved in the operation was unable to continue its course, but successfully recaptured the Sierra Madre.

A Mail On Chinese social media Weibo, China's coast guard said it had taken “control measures in accordance with law” against the Philippine vessels, which it said had “illegally entered the waters adjacent to the Renai Reef”.

Renai Reef is China's name for the second Thomas Shoal – the Philippines refers to Ayung's Shoal.

The latest run-in came four days after Secretary of State Blinken told a press conference in Manila that the United States has an “iron-clad commitment” to protecting the Philippines in the South China Sea.

Speaking at a joint news conference with the Philippines, Blinken said allies have a shared concern about the PRC's (People's Republic of China) actions that threaten our common vision of a free, open Indo-Pacific region, including in the South China Sea. and in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.”

A mutual defense treaty signed in 1951 that binds Washington to defend Manila from attack is “iron-clad” and “extends to armed attacks anywhere by Philippine armed forces, general vessels, aircraft — including its coast guard,” Blinken said. In the South China Sea.”

A Conflict Two weeks ago, a Chinese coast guard vessel used a water cannon on a Philippine boat, shattering its windshield and injuring four sailors.

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