Two Philippine boats were attacked with violent blasts of water by Chinese coast guard ships on Tuesday, Nov. 16, in the disputed Spratly Islands over the South China Sea shoal.
The ships were delivering food supplies to the Filipino military on the Second Thomas Shoal, also known as Ayungin Shoal, the area internationally accepted as the country’s territory, the Associated Press reported. No injuries were reported, but the fierce assault forced the ships to abandon their mission.
“The acts of the Chinese coast guard vessels are illegal,” Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin said in an online statement, which also noted the attacked vessels were just nearby the Second Thomas Shoal, Al Jazeera reported.
“China has no law enforcement rights in and around these areas. They must take heed and back off,” the statement continues.
Footage of the event was also shared on social media.
According to National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, the ships were blasted with a powerful stream of water for an hour, which caused the outrigger of one of them to be displaced.
Over the past years, reiterating the “nine-dash line,” Beijing has forcefully expanded its military presence in territory claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, and Taiwan. Despite a 2016 ruling by The Hague Tribunal. The tribunal favored the nations over China. But the Communist regime proceeded to assert its ownership.
Discussing the Tuesday conflict, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said it attacked the Filipino ships because they were illegally entering China’s marine territory, according to the AP.
The Philippines government said its forces would not be intimidated away from their shoal by the Tuesday violence.
“We will continue the resupply and we do not have to ask the permission of anybody because that is within our territory,” said Esperon.