China Accuses Philippines Of Ramming Coastguard Vessel In South China Sea

(MENAFN- IANS) Beijing, June 17 (IANS/DPA) China on Monday accused a Philippines naval vessel of deliberately infringing its territorial waters in the South China Sea and ramming a Chinese coastguard vessel.

A Philippines naval supply vessel had illegally approached a reef known as Ren'ai Jiao, the Chinese coastguard said.

The Philippines military denied the allegations and said they were misleading. No details on the supply operation to the reef, known as the Second Thomas Shoal or the Ayungin Shoal, would be released, spokesman Xerxes Trinidad said.

China claims the region as belonging to its territorial waters, despite a ruling against the Chinese position from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2016.

The Philippines sees the reef as part of its exclusive economic zone and regards the presence of the Chinese coastguard there as illegal. It accuses China of raising tensions through its actions.

According to the Chinese coastguard report, the Philippines vessel approached the Chinese intentionally despite several warnings "in an unprofessional way," leading to the collision.

"The responsibility for this lies entirely with the Philippine side," the Chinese coastguard statement said. No details on any damage were provided.

The Philippines referred to "continuing aggressive actions" on the part of the Chinese coastguard.

In 1999, the Philippines deliberately grounded a vessel on the reef, which lies some 200 km west of the island of Palawan, to assert its claim to the atoll, which is also claimed by China. Troops are posted aboard the decaying vessel and need to be supplied regularly.

China claims practically the entire South China Sea for itself. Apart from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei also claim territories there.



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