A Philippine boat on a resupply mission was rammed on Sunday (December 10) by a Chinese coast guard vessel, the Philippine coast guard announced, the day after a new clash in the hotly contested South China Sea.
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Beijing, for its part, accused the Philippine ship of being “deliberately collided” with a Chinese coast guard vessel.
Sunday morning, four Philippine ships “entered illegally” in the waters of the Spratly Islands, claimed by China, the Chinese coast guard said in a statement, adding that a Philippine vessel “had not heeded our multiple and severe warnings (…) and suddenly changed direction in an unprofessional and dangerous manner, deliberately colliding with our coast guard vessel..
A long history of maritime conflicts
The incident, which occurred near Second Thomas, an atoll in the Spratly Islands, comes a day after another clash with the Chinese coast guard which “impeded”, Using water cannons, three Philippine government boats supplied fishermen near Scarborough Reef, a reef controlled by Beijing off the Philippine island of Luzon, causing “severe engine damage” from one of the boats, Jay Tarriela, Coast Guard spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, said on X.
Manila and Beijing have a long history of maritime disputes in the South China Sea, through which billions of dollars of goods pass each year. Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, including waters and islands near its neighbors’ coasts, and has ignored an international tribunal’s 2016 ruling that the claim has no legal basis.
The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim several reefs and islets in this sea, some areas of which may contain rich oil reserves.
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Le Monde with AFP