Philippines accuses Chinese Coast Guard of firing water cannons on its supply ships

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said that no one was injured during the Nov. 16 incident on the Second Thomas Shoal, but that Philippine ships, carrying supplies to military personnel based there, had to abort their mission.

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“The acts of the Chinese Coast Guard are illegal,” Locsin said in a statement, reminding China that a public vessel is covered by the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States.

Locsin said he had conveyed “in the strongest terms” to the Chinese ambassador in Manila “our outrage, condemnation and protest over the incident.”

Locsin warned that “Beijing’s failure to exercise self-control threatens the special relationship” between the two countries.

“China has no law enforcement rights in and around these areas. They have to pay attention and back off,” Locsin said.

Manila considers Second Thomas Shoal, which is 105 nautical miles (195 kilometers) southwest of the Philippine region of Palawan, to be within its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone. It has occupied the sandbar since 1999 after intentionally running aground a Navy ship on the reef.

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China, which claims virtually the entire South China Sea, says the reef is part of its territory, but a 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to media requests for comment.

China claims sovereignty over vast swaths of the South China Sea, but Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have also submitted competing claims for some or all of the islands.

Reference-www.cnn.com

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