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Foreign diplomats express concern on latest South China Sea incident; calls China’s actions “dangerous” and “disruptive”
Foreign diplomats express concern on latest South China Sea incident; calls China’s actions “dangerous” and “disruptive”
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Foreign diplomats express concern on latest South China Sea incident; calls China’s actions “dangerous” and “disruptive”
by Karen Ow-Yong30 April 2024
Screenshot from Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)

MANILA – Foreign diplomats expressed concern following the latest incident in the South China Sea, after the Philippines accused China’s Coast Guard (CCG) of “harassment” and “damaging” one of its boats while delivering food and fuel to fishermen near the Scarborough Shoal.

In a statement posted on her X account, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson called China’s manoeuvres “dangerous” and the use of water cannons “disruptive” to the lawful mission of the Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) mission to provide food and fuel to fisherfolks within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EZZ).

“The Philippines can count on U.S. support as #FriendsPartnersAllies to uphold freedom of navigation and international law,” Carlson said.

The PRC used dangerous maneuvers and water cannons to disrupt a lawful Philippine mission providing food and fuel to fisherfolk within the 🇵🇭 EEZ. The Philippines can count on U.S. support as #FriendsPartnersAllies to uphold freedom of navigation and international law. pic.twitter.com/fDU0VqJtoI

— Ambassador MaryKay L. Carlson (@USAmbPH) April 30, 2024 " target="_blank" rel="noopener">

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The Embassy of France in the Philippines also released a statement calling on all parties to respect the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and freedom of navigation.

“We express our concern following the incident in South China Sea which caused damage to vessels of the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. France renews its call for respect of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and of freedom of navigation,” the statement said.

“We oppose any threat or use of force contrary to international law and recall the importance of resolving disputes through dialogue. We also recall the decision rendered by the Arbitral Court on July 12, 2016,” Embassy of France added.

🇫🇷 is concerned following the new incident in SCS and renews call for respect of the UNCLOS and of freedom of navigation. We oppose any threat or use of force contrary to international law. We recall the 2016 arbitral award.
Statement 👇
https:/t.co/Yhnb7lldmL

— Marie Fontanel 🇨🇵🇵🇭 (@MarieFontanelPH) April 30, 2024 " target="_blank" rel="noopener">

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British Ambassador Laure Beaufil posted on X its call for respect for UNCLOS and adherence to the 2016 Arbitral Award, which she said is legally binding on the parties.

“Great Britain condemns today's dangerous actions by Chinese vessels against PH Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources near Scarborough Shoal,” Beaufil said in her post.

🇬🇧 condemns today's dangerous actions by Chinese vessels against 🇵🇭 Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources near Scarborough Shoal.

We reiterate our call for respect for UNCLOS and adherence to the 2016 Arbitral Award, which is legally binding on the parties.
pic.twitter.com/MbyzInxZW1

— Laure Beaufils 🇬🇧 (@LaureBeaufils) April 30, 2024 " target="_blank" rel="noopener">

Meanwhile, Ambassador Luc Veron of the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines, called China Coast Guard’s manoeuvres “against international law” and emphasized that “dangerous manoeuvres, water cannoning, floating barrier, or any aggressive behaviours, is a threat to safety of life at sea, the freedom of navigation, and the prohibition of the use of force or coercion.”

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Dangerous manoeuvres, water cannoning, floating barrier, or any aggressive behaviours, is a threat to safety of life at sea, the freedom of navigation, and the prohibition of the use of force or coercion. In short, this is against international law. https:/t.co/ejrNOAK5To

— Ambassador Luc Véron 🇪🇺 (@EUAmbPH) April 30, 2024 " target="_blank" rel="noopener">

In a statement, the PCG said that during the patrol, the Philippine vessels encountered “dangerous manoeuvres and obstructions from four CCG vessels and six Chinese maritime militia vessels.”

One of the vessels was struck by water cannon from one of the CCG ships about 12 nautical miles (22km) from the shoal, while the PCG vessel was hit by water cannon fired by two of the CCG ships when it was about 1,000 yards (914 metres) away from the shoal, PCG said.

The incident resulted to damage to the railing and canopy.

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"This damage serves as evidence of the forceful water pressure used by the China Coast Guard in their harassment of the Philippine vessels," the statement read.

In the same statement, the PCG also revealed that CCG reinstalled a 380-meter (416-yard) barrier across the entrance to the shoal — a traditional fishing ground — blocking access to the waters inside.

China first installed the barrier last year, but the Philippines removed it in September as it breached international maritime law.

"Despite the harassment and provocative actions of the Chinese Coast Guard, both the PCG and BFAR vessels stood their ground and continued their maritime patrol. They were not deterred and will persist in carrying out their legitimate operations to support Filipino fishermen and ensure their safety," the PCG stated.

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Yesterday, the Philippine Coast Guard vessel, BRP BAGACAY (MRRV-4410), and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources vessel, BRP BANKAW (MMOV-3004), were assigned to carry out a legitimate maritime patrol in the waters near Bajo De Masinloc. The primary objective of this… pic.twitter.com/5jQkS2g66e

— Jay Tarriela (@jaytaryela) April 30, 2024 " target="_blank" rel="noopener">

Meanwhile, China’s coast guard said that the vessels had been “expelled” but did not provide further details.

During the regular press briefing of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, it said that “China’s coast guard took necessary measures in line with the law to firmly expel them.”

"China urges the Philippine side to immediately stop its provocative acts of infringement and do not challenge China's firm determination to safeguard its sovereignty," said Lin Jian, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

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