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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

China fires water cannon on 3 BFAR vessels in WPS

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PH boats damaged, Filipino crew hurt in attack

Chinese Coast Guard and Chinese maritime militia attacked three Philippine government boats conducting a supply mission near Bajo De Masinloc in the West Philippine Sea on Saturday.

The Chinese Coast Guard vessel used water cannons on Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources boats Datu Sanday, Datu Bankaw, and Datu Tamblot that were on a humanitarian mission to provide oil and grocery packs to Filipino fishermen.

“China’s illegal exercise of maritime law enforcement powers, interference with Philippine vessels, harassment and intimidation of Filipino fisherfolk, or any other activity that infringes upon the Philippines’ sovereignty and jurisdiction in Bajo de Masinloc are violations of international law, particularly UNCLOS and the Arbitral Award,” the National Task Force WPS said in a statement.

“We firmly insist that these Chinese vessels leave Bajo de Masinloc immediately.”

Washington and Tokyo immediately condemned the attack.

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“We condemn PRC’s aggressive, illegal actions against PH BFAR vessels lawfully operating in the PH EEZ (exclusive economic zone),” US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson said on X.

Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko, said he was “seriously concerned” by China’s dangerous actions.

Following the attack, the Philippine Coast Guard cautioned the Christmas convoy bound for the West Philippine Sea to avoid a confrontation with China during their journey.

“We will listen to the PCG. We will not go to areas where the situation is tense. The intention of this journey is not to play ‘patintero’ with China. Our goal is to spread Christmas cheer,” ATIN ITO Coalition co-convenor Rafaela David said..

“There are areas that you head toward, and China would ‘shadow’ you. We will not try to reach that kind of situation,” she added.

The ATIN ITO volunteers were aboard a 150-capacity civilian marine vessel carrying donations and supplies and will leave El Nido in Palawan for the Kalayaan Island Group today (Sunday).

As this developed, Beijing denounced a resolution of the House of Representatives criticizing its “illegal actions” in the West Philippine Sea.

“The resolution adopted by the House of Representatives of the Philippines groundlessly criticized, misrepresented, and smeared China. We firmly reject it,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin.

But House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro on Saturday reminded China it is alone in believing its ten-dash-line claim over the entire South China Sea.

“The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling on the South China Sea Arbitration is the one recognized by the world. It is China’s claim that is ‘illegal, null and void,’” Castro said.

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