China Damages Boat From the Philippines in South China Sea—After Blinken Renewed US ‘Commitment’

Published March 24, 2024

There’s word on Sunday that China has continued its aggressive moves in territory within the South China Sea that it claims belongs to it, this time against some ships from the Philippines. We’ve written previously about similar moves by the Chinese military, some of which they deigned to blame on others, including the U.S. military:

But in this case, it wasn’t a close call, as the Chinese coast guard appears to have badly damaged one of the boats during the encounter:

Video of the incident showed a Philippine civilian vessel taking “heavy damage” from the water cannon, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

While sharing video of the attack, the official AFP Twitter account described a “dangerous maneuver” the Chinese vessel made: crossing in front of the supply ship Unaizah May 4:

WATCH | At 06:08AM on March 23, 2024, China coast guard vessel BN21551 performs dangerous maneuver of crossing the bow against Philippine Supply Vessel Unaizah May 4 while en route to Ayungin Shoal for the RoRe mission for the Filipino soldiers stationed in BRP Sierra Madre.

Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Jay Tarriela called out “the irresponsible and provocative behavior of the Chinese maritime forces” in another Twitter-X post, while sharing a third video of three Chinese vessels “imped[ing] and encircl[ing] a Philippine Coast Guard ship:



RELATED: Philippines summons Beijing envoy over South China Sea water cannon attack

Manila says the confrontation near Second Thomas Shoal wounded three of its soldiers and caused severe damage to its vessel.

Chinese coastguard vessels fire water cannons towards a Philippine resupply vessel Unaizah May 4 on its way to a resupply mission at Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, March 5, 2024 [Adrian Portugal/ Reuters]
Published March 25, 2024

The Philippines has summoned Beijing’s envoy after accusing the Chinese Coast Guard of wounding three of its soldiers during a water cannon attack in the disputed South China Sea.

The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs, in a statement on Monday, said Manila conveyed its “strong protest against the aggressive actions” undertaken by China’s Coast Guard and Chinese maritime militias against the Philippine mission near the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea.

The department said it has also instructed its mission in Beijing to lodge a formal complaint over the incident.

The move comes a day after Philippines’ National Security Adviser Eduardo Ano said the confrontation wounded three Filipino soldiers caused severe damage to the Unaizah May 4 vessel.

Ano did not reveal the extent and nature of their injuries, though the military said the personnel were treated on board a coastguard escort ship.

The Second Thomas Shoal, known as Ayungin in the Philippines, has been the scene of repeated confrontations between Chinese and Philippine vessels over the past year. The confrontation on Saturday marked the second time that Unaizah May 4 has been damaged by the Chinese coastguard’s water cannon assault at the far-flung shoal in March.



RELATED: After clash, China warns Philippines over escalation in South China Sea


A screenshot from a video taken and released Saturday shows China Coast Guard ships deploying water cannons against a Philippine military-chartered civilian supply boat near the Second Thomas Shoal in disputed waters of the South China Sea. | ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES / VIA AFP-JIJI
Published March 24,  2024

China’s Defense Ministry on Sunday warned the Philippines to halt actions that “could escalate the situation” in the disputed South China Sea, a day after Manila accused Beijing of severely damaging a vessel and injuring its crew with water cannonsduring a resupply mission to a military outpost.

On Saturday, the Philippine military said China Coast Guard vessels and Chinese government-linked maritime militia vessels had “once again harassed, blocked, deployed water cannons, and executed dangerous maneuvers” against vessels taking part in the mission to the flashpoint Second Thomas Shoal, which is also claimed by China.

Philippine authorities said Chinese actions had “led to significant damage” and “caused injury to personnel” aboard the Unaizah May 4 (UM4), a civilian boat hired to resupply the military base atop a grounded World War II-era warship in the shoal.

The severity of the injuries sustained was not clear, but the crew were later given medical treatment aboard one of the country’s coast guard vessels, according to the Philippine side.




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