Philippines says Chinese coast guard 'acting like pirates' in South China Sea

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
4 Min Read
Philippines says Chinese coast guard 'acting like pirates' in South China Sea

Philippine Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Broner has criticized China over the repeated confrontations between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea.

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Philippine military personnel said the Chinese coast guard were “acting like pirates”, Al Jazeera reported on Thursday.

His remarks came after the June 17 clash near Second Thomas Shoal, in which the Chinese coast guard attacked a Philippine Navy vessel while it was delivering relief supplies to sailors stationed on the island nation's Sierra Madre.

“In the latest clash in the disputed South China Sea, personnel armed with knives and spears boarded our supply ships at Second Thomas Shoal. The Chinese coast guard personnel were armed with machetes and our personnel fought with bare hands. We were outnumbered and had an unexpected amount of weapons, but our personnel fought back with all their might,” Bronner said.

He shared a post on Facebook on Wednesday, also claiming that a Filipino sailor was seriously injured and a boat was damaged.

“Only pirates do that,” he said, adding, “Only pirates board ships, steal and destroy equipment and goods.”

Recently, there have been several confrontations between Manila and Beijing over the Second Thomas Shoal.

The shallow reef falls within the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), about 195 km (121 mi) off the island of Palawan in the western Philippines.

China has made several attempts in the past to intercept resupply missions headed to that location.

However, as per Al Jazeera report, China has denied all such allegations of attacks on Chinese personnel.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian commented on the recent incident on Wednesday, saying, “The law enforcement actions taken by the Chinese coast guard at the scene were professional and restrained.”

He also claimed the Chinese coast guard was attempting to prevent a resupply mission, which was “illegal”, and accused the island nation of sending construction materials, weapons and ammunition to the reef.

“China urges the Philippines to immediately stop its violations and provocations,” Lin said.

It is noteworthy that even after an international tribunal declared in 2016 that the South China Sea claim had “no legal basis” incidents of clashes have continued there.

China has made expansionist claims to almost the entire South China Sea, claiming that it falls under the nine-dash line. The same news report also claimed that the country has also built artificial islands and military outposts near the reef.

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