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US, other nations condemn China’s ‘aggressive actions’ in WPS

US, other nations condemn China�s �aggressive actions� in WPS
A China Coast Guard ship (R) sailing past a Philippine fishing boat with volunteers from the civilian-led mission Atin Ito (This Is Ours) Coalition on board, in the disputed South China Sea on May 16, 2024. A Philippine boat convoy bearing supplies for Filipino fishers said they were headed back to port May 16, ditching plans to sail to a Beijing-held reef off the Southeast Asian country after one of their boats was “constantly shadowed” by a Chinese vessel. (Ted ALJIBE / AFP) 

MANILA, Philippines — The US and other nations have condemned the actions of Chinese maritime forces in the West Philippine Sea during a routine resupply mission by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to the BRP Sierra Madre.

On Monday, the National Security Council said that China’s coast guard and maritime militia engaged in “dangerous maneuvers” which included “ramming and towing.”

It also said that China’s actions put at risk the lives of the personnel and damage the PCG’s boats.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, MaryKay Carlson, stated that Washington “condemns” China’s “aggressive and dangerous maneuvers,” which resulted in bodily injuries, damaged Philippine vessels and obstructed lawful maritime activities.

The U.S. State Department also called China’s actions “escalatory” and emphasized that the 72-year-old mutual defense treaty between the U.S. and the Philippines includes “armed attacks” on its Coast Guard “anywhere in the South China Sea.”

In a separate statement, France, Japan, Germany, Finland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands denounced China’s actions and called for the recognition of the ruling of the 2016 arbitral tribunal of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The Netherlands said that China’s “irresponsible maneuvers” “endanger the safety of ships and crews” and question “the freedom of sea routes guaranteed under international law.”

“Netherlands considers it of utmost importance that the 2016 arbitral award is fully respected and implemented,” Netherlands ambassador to the Philippines Marielle Geraedts said in a post on X.

The European Union also expressed its concern over the “ramming” and “towing” incident.

“The EU opposes coercion and intimidation in the South China Sea, or anywhere. We support international law and peaceful dispute resolution,” EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Veron also said in a post on X.

This was not the first time Chinese maritime assets have been involved in an incident with the PCG’s RORE mission to bring supplies to the BRP Sierra Madre anchored in Ayungin Shoal.

Previous incidents involved the spraying of water cannons which resulted in PCG personnel being injured.

— Ian Laqui

Credit belongs to: www.philstar.com

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