China says the Philippines rammed Chinese boats and attacked personnel in the Second Thomas Shoal standoff

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Beijing has hit back Manila’s allegations of aggression in a stalemate in the South Chinese Ocean This week it was alleged that Philippine ships deliberately rammed Chinese boats, carried weapons and attacked Chinese personnel near a disputed shoal.

Chinese boats intercepted one Philippine ship bound for the Second Thomas Shoal Monday on what Manila described as a routine humanitarian supply mission to its troops stationed on the Earth. The shoal is part of the Spratly Islands and is claimed by both countries.

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian said in Beijing on Thursday that the Philippine operation was “definitely not about humanitarian supplies.”

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“The Philippine ships secretly transported construction materials and even weapons and equipment, and they deliberately rammed Chinese ships,” Lin said.

He said Philippine personnel “also splashed water and threw things at Chinese enforcement personnel” and that the acts “clearly escalated tensions at sea and seriously threatened the safety of Chinese personnel and ships.”

Lin’s comments followed the release Wednesday of footage that Manila said showed Chinese personnel deploying tear gas, damaging their equipment and brandishing weapons.

The Philippine military called the incident “a brazen act of aggression” and accused the Chinese coast guard of “using physical attacks, bladed weapons, blaring sirens and blinding strobe lights.”

It accused the Chinese side of “deliberate ramming at high speed” and said eight Filipino sailors were injured in the confrontation, including one who lost a thumb.

According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Chinese Coast Guard personnel were caught on camera “brandishing an assortment of bladed and pointed weapons that threatened to injure (Philippine) troops.”

It also said the Chinese coast guard’s “coercive, aggressive and barbaric actions” resulted in serious damage to Philippine ships, including communications and navigation equipment.

Philippine Navy spokesman Roy Trinidad said on Thursday that the Chinese personnel were behaving like a “gang of barbarians”, according to a Reuters report.

“We were not prepared for this kind of response,” Trinidad said. ‘We followed the rules of the fight. They were not allowed to use weapons except for self-defense.”

He said China’s “illegal, aggressive and deceptive” actions increased the risk of miscalculations at sea.

But Lin said the Philippine party’s statements “completely distorted the facts” and were an attempt to “shift blame.”

“The Philippine side illegally entered the waters of Renai Jiao without China’s permission,” he said, referring to the Chinese name for the shoal, known in the Philippines as Ayungin Shoal.

“The Chinese side, in accordance with the law, took necessary measures to protect its sovereignty, which were lawful and justified and carried out in a professional and restrained manner.

“We urge the Philippine side to immediately stop the intrusions and provocations at sea or face the consequences.”

Also the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV photos released Wednesday shows the Philippine supply boat surrounded by four Chinese ships, including a coast guard ship, with crew members boarding the boat.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Mail (SCMP), the most authoritative voice covering China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please visit the SCMP app or visit the SCMPs Facebook And Tweet Pages. Copyright © 2024 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2024. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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