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China used water cannons against Philippine vessels

China used water cannons against Philippine vessels (photo: screenshot from Reuters video)

The Chinese coast guard on Saturday, March 23, fired water cannons at Philippine vessels in disputed waters of the South China Sea. The Philippines reported injuries and called the actions irresponsible and provocative, according to Reuters.

In a video released by the Philippines, a civilian supply ship is shown being sprayed with water cannons, which, according to Philippine military sources, caused significant damage and injuries to the personnel on board.

The civilian ship was hired to replenish supplies for Philippine military personnel on a grounded ship. The Philippines use this vessel to assert their sovereignty claims.

According to Philippine military sources, it was escorted by two navy ships and two coast guard vessels.

The Philippine Coast Guard reported that one of its vessels was surrounded by a Chinese Coast Guard ship and two Chinese maritime militia vessels.

The Chinese Coast Guard stated that the Philippine vessels ignored repeated warnings and forced their way through. It claims that the entire responsibility for the incident lies with the Philippines.

The Philippine South China Sea Task Force stated that hidden threats or hostility will not deter the country from exercising its lawful rights in its maritime zones.

China and the Philippines

In recent years, relations between the Philippines and China have been tense due to the policy of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who has pursued a course of closer ties with the US.

In October 2023, the Philippines stated that Chinese vessels engaged in dangerous maneuvers, leading to collisions with two of their ships.

In early March 2024, four Philippine servicemen were injured after two Chinese coast guard ships used water cannons against a vessel chartered by the Philippine military for resupply operations.

Philippine Defense Minister Gilbert Teodoro ordered the military to implement a new strategy to protect the country's territory and economic interests following the latest clash with Chinese ships.