The Philippines on Sunday accused China of blocking and spraying water on a chartered supply ship in the South China Sea. The ship was en route to Ayungin Shoal for a routine military rotation and resupply mission. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) condemned the action of the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG), calling it excessive interference and aggression.
The PCG strongly condemns the CCG’s dangerous manoeuvres and illegal use of water cannons against PCG vessels carrying indigenous boats chartered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on August 5, 2023, the Philippine Coast Guard said in a Facebook post.
The post by CG Commodore Jay Tariela, PCG Spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, said the boats that were intercepted were delivering food, water, fuel and other supplies to our military personnel stationed on the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal. The PCG further said that the CCG’s action not only disregarded the safety of the PCG crew but also violated international law.
The PCG said, such actions by the CCG not only ignored the safety of the PCG crew and supply boats but also violated international law. International law includes the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the 1972 Convention on International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) and the 2016 Arbitral Award.
The Philippines called on the CCG to rein in its forces, respect the Philippines’ sovereign rights and abide by international maritime obligations. It said, “We, the China Coast Guard, as an organization, have the responsibility to comply with the country’s obligations under UNCLOS, COLREG and other relevant instruments of international maritime security to prevent all illegal activities within the Philippine maritime zones.” What are they saying?
According to media reports, reacting to the incident, the US said it stands with Manila amid the dangerous actions of the CCG. Through the US Embassy in Manila, the US Department of State (USDS) on Sunday called on China to comply with the 2016 arbitration ruling as well as respect freedom of navigation. Freedom of navigation is a right to which all countries are entitled.
The US also confirmed that an armed attack on Philippine government ships, aircraft and armed forces, including its coast guard, in the South China Sea would invoke US mutual defence commitments under Article IV of the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.