Foreign envoys 'troubled' over China vessels’ strikes vs PH ships in WPS | Global News

Foreign envoys ‘troubled’ over China vessels’ strikes vs PH ships in WPS

/ 01:07 AM March 06, 2024

China Coast Guard CCG ship Philippine Coast Guard’s PCG BRP Sindangan

TWO FORMS OF HARASSMENT A China Coast Guard (CCG) ship (left photo) trains its water cannon on the Philippine military-chartered civilian boat Unaizah May 4 in an attempt to block the latter’s supply mission to Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea on Tuesday. Earlier, the Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) BRP Sindangan was damaged after a collision (right) with a CCG ship due to the latter’s “dangerous blocking maneuvers,” the PCG said. (Photos from PCG)

MANILA, Philippines — Several foreign envoys expressed their concern over a recent collision on Tuesday between the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Véron called out the reported “dangerous maneuvers and blocking” of the CCG vessels and Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM) in the WPS while the PCG vessels were conducting a rotation and reprovisioning operation.

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“Troubled by today’s pattern of dangerous maneuvers and blocking from [CCG] vessels and [CMM] targeting Philippine vessels engaged in crucial resupply missions,” he said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

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The concern was echoed by German Ambassador to the Philippines Andreas Pfaffernoschke, saying that Germany is concerned about the incidents involving the strikes of the CCG vessels.

United States Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson also condemned the CCG’s actions.

“We strongly condemn the PRC’s dangerous maneuvers at Ayungin/Second Thomas Shoal, which endangered lives, resulted in injuries, and damaged @CoastGuardPH vessels in the Philippine EEZ,” Carlson wrote in a post on X.

According to the PCG Spokesperson for the WPS Commodore Jay Tarriela, BRP Cabra and BRP Sindangan were deployed to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ operation when the CCG vessels performed dangerous maneuvers and blockings.

These moves resulted in a collision and minor structural damage to the PCG vessel.

“Throughout the operation, the PCG vessels faced dangerous maneuvers and blocking from [CCG] vessels and [CMM],” Tarriela wrote in a post on X.

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In a separate statement, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea said the strikes were another attempt to “illegally impede and obstruct a routine resupply and rotation mission” at Ayungin Shoal.

“China’s latest unprovoked acts of coercion and dangerous maneuvers against a legitimate and routine Philippine rotation and resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal have put the lives of our people at risk and caused actual injury to Filipinos on board UM4,” the task force said.

The NTF-WPS added the CCG and CMM deployed water cannons against the supply boat UM4 and shattered its windshield, causing minor injuries to four personnel on board.

With this, the three foreign envoys called for the peaceful resolution of the dispute based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The diplomats emphasized the importance of abiding by the 2016 arbitration award to “guarantee safety in maritime waters.”

“The EU reiterates the call for all parties to abide by the legally binding 2016 Arbitration Award and international law to peacefully resolve disputes, guaranteeing safety in maritime waters,” Véron said.

“Germany calls on all parties to resolve disputes peacefully based on UNCLOS and reiterates the call to respect the legally binding 2016 Arbitral Award,” Pfaffernoschke added.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued an award officially saying that the Philippines has “exclusive sovereign rights” over the WPS.

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It also declared that China has no legal basis to claim “historic rights to resources” within their “nine-dash line” argument.

— With intern Barbara Gutierrez

For comprehensive coverage, in-depth analysis, and the latest updates on the West Philippine Sea issue, visit our special site here. Stay informed with articles, videos, and expert opinions.

TAGS: China, envoys, West Philippine Sea, WPS

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