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Philippines condemns China for harassing, injuring crew during resupply mission

(Photo source: Philippine Coast Guard)

MANILA, (PIA) -- The Philippines on Tuesday criticized China of harassment and dangerous maneuvers after its vessels allegedly blocked, used water cannons, and caused a collision during a resupply mission to a Philippine outpost in the disputed South China Sea.

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea said Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessels and Maritime Militia (CMM) deployed water cannons and engaged in "dangerous maneuvers" against Philippine vessels near Ayungin Shoal on Tuesday morning.

A statement from the task force also claimed a Chinese vessel caused minor collisions with both a Philippine Coast Guard vessel and a civilian resupply boat, injuring four Filipino crew members.

"China's latest unprovoked acts of coercion and dangerous maneuvers have put the lives of our people at risk and caused actual injury to Filipinos," the statement asserted.

The Philippines maintains Ayungin Shoal falls within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) based on a 2016 ruling by an international tribunal. China rejects the ruling and claims most of the South China Sea.

The Philippines condemned China's actions while reaffirming its commitment to "peaceful and responsible" solutions consistent with international law.

"The Philippines will not be deterred from exercising our legal rights over our maritime zones including Ayungin Shoal, which forms part of our Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf," the statement further said.

"We demand that China demonstrate that it is a responsible and trustworthy member of the international community," the statement concluded. (JCO/PIA-NCR)

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