The Philippines said a Chinese coast guard vessel on Friday deployed a water cannon at a ship bound to supply provisions to a military outpost near a disputed reef in the South China Sea.
Manila’s embassy in Beijing protested the latest action with the Chinese foreign ministry, a Philippine government task force said in a statement. China’s coast guard said that it has taken “control measures” against Philippine ships near the Second Thomas Shoal after they entered without permission, according to a separate statement.
Chinese vessels “recklessly harassed, blocked and executed dangerous maneuvers in another attempt to illegally impede or obstruct a routine resupply and rotation mission” to Philippine ship BRP Sierra Madre in the shoal which is claimed by both countries. Manila’s grounded the World War II-era ship in the shoal since 1999.
The encounter is the latest in a series of recent incidents that has raised tensions in the South China Sea as Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. becomes more assertive against Chinese incursions in disputed waters.
The Philippines said on Friday that its two supply boats were also subjected to “dangerous harassment” by Chinese coast guard ships inside Second Thomas Shoal lagoon during their approach to BRP Sierra Madre, adding it eventually reached the ship.
China’s actions were taken “in accordance with the law,” while it made “temporary special arrangements for the Philippines to transport food and other necessary daily supplies,” said China Coast Guard spokesman Gan Yu.
“The Philippines’ actions violate China’s territorial sovereignty, violate the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, and violate its own commitments,” he said. “We urge the Philippines to immediately stop its infringing actions.”
The Southeast Asian nation said it condemns Beijing latest moves, adding it “puts into question and significant doubt the sincerity of its calls for peaceful dialogue.”
In August, the Philippines said a Chinese coast guard ship blocked and fired water cannons on a supply vessel bound for Second Thomas Shoal, prompting Manila to issue a diplomatic note. Last month, ships from the two countries collided on two separate occasions during another resupply mission by the Philippines.