China-Philippines Navy Spat Captured On Camera
Journalists on board a Philippine ship have witnessed a Chinese coast guard vessel trying to block access to a disputed shoal in the South China Sea.The Chinese ship radioed to demand the crew turn around, or “take full responsibility” for their actions.
But the Philippine boat, ferrying food to troops stationed on the Second Thomas Shoal, managed to slip past.
The shoal is one of many flashpoints in the area, where several countries have overlapping territorial claims.
China claims a U-shaped swathe of the sea – creating multiple overlaps with areas claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.
The latest incident involves the Second Thomas Shoal, known as Ayungin in Manila and Ren’ai Reef in Beijing.
Philippine troops are stationed on a beached, rusting military ship on the shoal that analysts say has become a symbol of the country marking its territory.
Two weeks ago, Manila made a formal complaint to Beijing after a similar incident.
The latest confrontation was witnessed by more than a dozen journalists.
They had been invited by the Philippine military to board the government vessel to show alleged bullying by Chinese vessels in the area.
The Chinese foreign ministry condemned the Philippines for trying to “hype up” the issue, according to a statement quoted by Xinhua news agency.
The ministry accused Manila of trying to “illegally seize” the shoal.