US, EU, Japan, Canada condemn China’s dangerous maneuvers

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
US, EU, Japan, Canada condemn China�s dangerous maneuvers
Handout photo from the Philippine Coast Guard showed a Chinese Coast Guard vessel firing a water cannon. P
hilippine Coast Guard

MANILA, Philippines — Several countries have expressed support for the Philippines after the China Coast Guard (CCG), in its latest aggression, collided with Filipino vessels within the country’s exclusive economic zone.

The United States yesterday condemned the CCG’s dangerous blocking maneuvers, which resulted in the collision with a Philippine vessel on a resupply mission in Ayungin Shoal.

Chinese vessels yesterday blocked and collided with Philippine boats sending supplies to troops stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre in the West Philippine Sea, according to the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea.

A Chinese maritime militia vessel also “bumped” a patrol vessel of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) approximately 6.4 nautical miles northeast of Ayungin Shoal during the same resupply mission.

US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson condemned China’s “latest disruption of a legal Philippine resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal, putting the lives of Filipino service members at risk.”

“We stand with our #FriendsPartnersAllies in protecting the Philippine sovereignty and in support of a #FreeAndOpenIndoPacific,” Carlson said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

The US reaffirmed that an armed attack on Philippine public vessels, aircraft and armed forces – including those of its Coast Guard in the South China Sea – would invoke US mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.

European Union Ambassador Luc Véron called the repetition and intensification of incidents “dangerous and very disturbing.”

“We join the Philippines in its call for the full observance of international law in the South China Sea,” Véron posted on X.

Canada condemned CCG’s “unlawful” and “dangerous” conduct.

“The Embassy of Canada condemns the unlawful and dangerous conduct of the People’s Republic of China’s Coast Guard and maritime militia vessels on 22 October 2023, which provoked two collisions with Philippine vessels engaged in routine operations inside the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone, in the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal,” the embassy said in a statement.

The embassy noted that “China has no lawful claim to the West Philippine Sea.”

Japanese Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa posted on X that Japan “strongly opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion.”

“We stand with/by PH’s position; upholding maritime order based on UNCLOS & 2016 Arbitral Award,” he said.

German Ambassador Andreas Pfaffernoschke said they are calling on all parties to “act in accordance with UNCLOS-rules and to respect the 2016 arbitral award,” referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which China is a signatory to.

Dutch Ambassador Marielle Geraedts said on Twitter that the collision is another “worrying” incident.

“Glad nobody got hurt. The Netherlands stands with the Philippines in its call for the full observance of International Law in the South China Sea,” she said.

Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal said “any damage or injury is clearly on China’s hands” when the CCG made contact with Filipino vessels.

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