French envoy ‘seriously concerned’ with China’s use of water cannon
MANILA, Philippines – The Chinese Coast Guard’s (CCG) use of water cannon against Philippine ships headed toward Ayungin Shoal is seriously concerning, the French ambassador to the Philippines said on Sunday.
The CCG, earlier on Sunday, used water cannons anew on ships that were on a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre.
The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea, in a statement, reported that as a result of this incident, the civilian ship M/L Kalayaan was damaged, endangering the lives of its crew.
BRP Cabra was also damaged “after being directly targeted by the full strength of the water cannon” of the CCG.
“Today more than ever France recalls the value of international law to ensure freedom of navigation and is, once again, seriously concerned by the use of water cannons in the Philippine EEZ [Exclusive Economic Zone] to prevent a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre,” French Ambassador Marie Fontanel said in a post on X (formerly twitter) in reaction to the incident.
Meanwhile, the European Union’s envoy to the Philippines underscored the importance of the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in settling international territorial disputes.
The UNCLOS is an international treaty which sets rules for countries regarding the use of oceans.
“UNCLOS dispute settlement mechanisms maintain the rule of law. The 2016 UNCLOS Tribunal Award is a valuable framework for peaceful resolution,” EU Ambassador Luc Veron said in a separate post in X.
Vernon was referring to the 2016 Hague decision which voided China’s claims in the West Philippine Sea and recognized the Philippines’ sovereign right to fish and explore resources within its EEZ – a ruling that China refused to acknowledge.
“Water cannons and dangerous sea maneuvers aren’t a legitimate alternative,” he continued.
Meanwhile, the United States (US) Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson condemned China’s “dangerous actions” against Filipino ships.
“The US stands with the Philippines and partners in vehemently condemning the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] repeated illegal and dangerous actions against Filipino vessels, including disrupting the (…) resupply mission to the Sierra Madre today. PRC aggression undermines regional stability in defiance of a #FreeAndOpenIndoPacific,” she said on X.
China’s use of water cannons on civilian ships is the latest in the string of acts of aggression in the West Philippine Sea.
On Saturday, China also used water cannons on Philippine civilian ships conducting a humanitarian mission for Filipino fishermen off Scarborough Shoal.