Philippines tells China to ‘back off’ after South China Sea conflict

Philippines says Chinese coastguard blocked and fired water cannon on two of its provide ships inside its unique financial zone.

Three ships from the Chinese coastguard blocked and fired water cannons on two Philippines provide boats inside the nation’s unique financial zone (EEZ) within the disputed South China Sea, the Philippines has mentioned.

Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin mentioned the incident passed off near Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) on November 16 and the Philippine vessels, which have been taking meals provides to army personnel stationed close by, have been compelled to desert the mission. No accidents have been reported.

“The acts of the Chinese coast guard vessels are illegal,” Locsin mentioned in a press release shared on social media by the Foreign Ministry. “China has no law enforcement rights in and around these areas. They must take heed and back off.”

China claims nearly the complete South China Sea primarily based on its so-called ‘nine-dash line’ that the worldwide courtroom dominated with out benefit 5 years in the past. Beijing has ignored the ruling, as a substitute constructing synthetic islands and deploying its navy, coastguard, and fleets of fishing vessels to the disputed sea, which can be claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, and Taiwan.

Locsin accused China of failing to train self-restraint and mentioned he had conveyed Manila’s “outrage, condemnation and protest” over the incident to the Chinese ambassador.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who has sought a better relationship with China, has been criticised for not taking a more durable line on the nation’s South China Sea actions. On Thursday he backed the overseas affairs ministry’s swift response.

“We will continue to assert our sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over our territory,” appearing presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles mentioned in a press release.

Ayungin Shoal is a part of the Spratly Islands, often known as the Kalayaan Islands within the Philippines. It lies inside the Philippines EEZ, which stretches 370km (200 nautical miles) from its coast.

Earlier this 12 months, the Philippines complained concerning the weeks-long presence of dozens of vessels from China’s so-called ‘maritime militia’ at Whitsun Reef, which lies about 320 kilometres (175 nautical miles) west of Palawan Island inside its EEZ.

In 2012, China forcibly took management of Scarborough Shoal, which lies 229km (124 nautical miles) west of the Philippine island of Luzon.