Chinese in Panatag fired water cannons at Pinoy fishermen
(The Philippine Star) - February 24, 2014 - 4:03pm
MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese Coast Guard fired water cannons at Filipino fishermen to scare them away from the Panatag Shoal (Scarborough), a territory within the Philippines but is being occupied by China in the West Philippine Sea.
 
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista on Monday confirmed that the incident happened last January 27.
 
"There was an incident last January 27 wherein the Chinese Coast Guard tried to drive away Filipino fishing vessels to the extent of using water cannons," Bautista said at the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines news briefing.
 
China and the Philippines are locked in a territorial dispute over the Panatag Shoal, which is well within the territorial waters of the Zambales province.
 
The whole of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) is being claimed by China, which is also in a territorial row with other Asian countries around the disputed sea.
 
Despite the hostile act, Bautista said that the Philippine military did not respond to the incident head on.
 
"We do not want any confrontation with anybody, in this case [the] Chinese Coast Guard ... and it's a matter policy [that] we want to resolve this issue through peaceful [means] and that is through international arbitration," he said.
 
AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said in a state news report that Chinese coast guard's move can be considered a threat to the freedom of navigation in the disputed waters.
 
"It's very important we try to solve this aggressions through peaceful means such as rules-based protest were doing such acts they are doing can now be used as our evidence in the (international) court," Zagala said.
 
Chinese vessels started occupying the Panatag Shoal after a Philippine Navy ship apprehended Chinese fishermen who are caught poaching in the area. The Philippine Navy ship's crew members were prevented by a Chinese military vessel from arresting the fishermen, which later resulted in a standoff.
 
The standoff ended after the Philippine government ordered its ships to withdraw from the disputed territory.
 

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES BAUTISTA CHIEF OF STAFF GEN CHINA AND THE PHILIPPINES CHINESE COAST GUARD PANATAG SHOAL PHILIPPINE NAVY WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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