China’s Coast Guard Hits Philippine Ship Amid US Support in Disputed Waters

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China’s coasties hit Philippine boats with a water cannon in the South Sea Saturday, in the latest sea spat.

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The tussle popped off just days after the US’s top diplomat, Antony Blinken, vowed to back Manila’s sea rights, opposing China’s big claim over the area, which’s stirred up more clashes lately with the neighbors.

A video caught a Philippine non-military ship copping “heavy damage” from the cannon, per the Philippine military.

They’re also claiming the Chinese coast guard did a risky cut-off move, zooming in front of the supply ship then blasting it.

After that, China dropped some floating blockades, making sure no other boats could get in.

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The Philippine Coast Guard said their boat got “impeded and encircled” by a Chinese coast guard ship and a couple of “maritime militia” boats, leaving it cut off from the supply boat.

This move, they said, was a “disrespect” to the sea rules for avoiding crashes, shared by the Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Jay Tarriela on X.

Beijing and Manila have been at it over the Second Thomas Shoal, a hop and a skip from the Philippine island of Palawan, for ages. Back in the ’90s, the Philippines parked an old navy ship, the BRP Sierra Madre, on the shoal to mark its turf. Now, it’s a rust bucket with a rotating crew of Philippine marines.

The clashes usually flare when the Philippines tries to send supplies to the Sierra Madre.

Despite the water cannon showdown, the Philippine military said they managed to drop off supplies, but one of the boats couldn’t keep going on its planned route.

On China’s Weibo, their coast guard said they took “control measures by the book” on the Philippine ships, calling them “illegal” in the waters by Ren’ai Reef – that’s China talk for the Second Thomas Shoal, or Ayungin Shoal as the Philippines calls it.

This latest scrape was just four days after Secretary Blinken, in Manila, said the US had a rock-solid promise to defend the Philippines in the South Sea.

Blinken, yapping with his Philippine counterpart, said both sides were worried about China’s moves messing with the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, especially in the South Sea and the Philippines’ own ocean zone.

He said the old 1951 defense deal between the US and Manila, where Washington’s gotta protect Manila from attacks, is “rock-solid” and covers any attacks on Philippine forces or boats – coast guard included – in the South Sea.

Two weeks before this, a Chinese coast guard boat also launched water at a Philippine vessel, busting its glass and hurting four crew members.

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