Manila has summoned Beijing’s ambassador after accusing China of “illegal and dangerous” behaviour that resulted in two collisions in the highly disputed South China Sea.
Philippine foreign ministry spokesperson Teresita Daza said Manila was “making full use of diplomatic processes” after the incidents involving vessels belonging to China and the Philippines, and had summoned the Chinese ambassador on Monday morning.
The collisions, which occurred early on Sunday, are the latest in a series of maritime confrontations between the two countries in the South China Sea, and provoked condemnation of China by the US, which has a mutual defence pact with the Philippines.
The Philippines accused China’s coast guard of “dangerous blocking manoeuvres” that caused it to collide with a Philippine resupply boat about 25km from Second Thomas Shoal, where the warship was deliberately run aground decades ago to underline the Philippines’ claims in the sea. The site is a particular flashpoint, and the Philippines has repeatedly accused China of trying to block its resupply missions.
The Philippines’ National Taskforce said the “provocative, irresponsible, and illegal action” of the Chinese vessel had “imperiled the safety” of the Philippine boat’s crew.
In a separate incident, a Philippine coastguard vessel escorting a routine resupply mission was “bumped” by what the Philippine taskforce described as a “Chinese Maritime Militia vessel”.
China accused the Philippine boat of “deliberately” stirring up trouble by reversing in a “premeditated manner” into a Chinese fishing vessel.
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