Philippines summons China diplomat over latest confrontation with China Coast Guard News
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Philippines summons China diplomat over latest confrontation with China Coast Guard

The Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) summoned on Thursday China’s Deputy Chief of Mission of the Chinese Embassy in Manila, Zhou Zhyiong, after China’s Coast Guard attacked Filipino vessels that were on a humanitarian mission in Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea on April 30.

The DFA said in its statement that China “harassed, blocked, water cannoned, rammed vessels of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).” It also said that the vessels were on their way to Scarborough Shoal to assist Filipino fishermen in the area. The DFA described the incident as “shocking and appalling” and asserted that “China’s aggressive actions, particularly its water cannon use, caused damage to the vessels of PCG and BFAR.” The Philippines demanded that Chinese vessels leave Scarbourough Shoal and its vicinity immediately.

Philippines Coast Guard spokesperson Jay Tarriela considered China’s actions to be “provocative” and said they disregarded international law. He even accused China of using force and violence as “grey zone tactics” to “justify their greed” and serve its interests.

China, however, referred to what the Philippines described as obstructing “a regular humanitarian mission” as a justified act and argued that the China Coast Guard lawfully expelled two Philippines vessels that had illegally entered Huangyang Island in the South China Sea. Furthermore, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian said in a press conference that China Coast Guard’s response was “professional, proper and lawful” and they took the “necessary measures in accordance with the law ” to expel two Philippines Coast Guard vessels that had entered the waters of a Chinese territory without permission, which constitutes a “serious infringement on China’s sovereignty.”

Tensions between China and the Philippines have escalated in the last months over the South China Sea and they have been involved in several maritime incidents including collisions involving ships from both countries, as each country claims that the region is part of its territory and accusing each other of illegal conduct in the mentioned region. The latest occurred in March 2024 when Philippines officials accused Chinese authorities of a “hostile attack” against a Philippines supply boat in the waters of the disputed region.