China Coast Guard's 'pirate-like' actions in Ayungin Shoal condemned

Pia Lee-Brago - Philstar.com
China Coast Guard's 'pirate-like' actions in Ayungin Shoal condemned
This screengrab taken from a handout video filmed on June 17, 2024 and released by Armed Forces of the Philippines-Public Affairs Office (AFP-PAO) on June 19 shows Chinese coast guard personnel (L,R) aboard their inflatable boats blocking Philippine navy boats (C) during a confrontation at the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. The Philippine military said on June 19, the Chinese coast guard rammed and boarded Filipino navy boats in a violent confrontation in the South China Sea this week in which a Filipino sailor lost a thumb. China defended its actions, with its foreign ministry saying that "no direct measures" were taken against Filipino personnel.
Photo by Armed Forces of the Philippines-Public Affairs Office / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. on Wednesday likened China Coast Guard (CCG) personnel to pirates, as he exposed how troops – armed with bolos, spears, machetes and knives – threatened Philippine Navy soldiers to stop the military’s rotation and resupply (RORE) mission to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

The military said the Chinese illegally seized at least seven rifles, punctured rigid haul inflatable boats (RHIBs) and destroyed various communication equipment and boat engines which China should return and definitely pay for.

Brawner said Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG) personnel fought courageously the whole time with their bare hands as the CCG pointed their knives at Filipino soldiers who were unarmed and outnumbered but still brave enough to push back.

“For me, this is piracy. Piracy because they boarded our boats illegally, they got our equipment. Again, they are like pirates in the way they acted,” he told reporters at a press briefing in Palawan.

“This is the first time we saw the CCG armed with bolos, spears and knives. On the other hand, our troops were unarmed and the guns we were carrying were disassembled and in gun cases because we were transporting this to LS57,” he said.

“So we are not carrying bladed weapons or whatever. But the Chinese, they used them to damage our RHIBs, the rubber boats. It’s visible, we have videos and we saw in the videos how the Chinese even threatened our personnel by pointing their knives,” he added.

AFP Western Command chief Rear Admiral Alfonso Torres Jr. explained that the NAVSOG personnel that carried out the latest RORE mission were unarmed but the team was carrying gun cases containing disassembled firearms that were being transported to the Sierra Madre.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Navy deployed its newest missile-equipped patrol gunboat, the BRP Laurence Narag, in the southern Philippines two weeks after two Chinese warships were monitored passing through the Basilan Strait, an international sea lane within the Zamboanga peninsula.

In a radio challenge, the captain of one of the two ships responded that they were conducting normal navigation from their last port of call in Dili, Timor-Leste on their way to Dalian, China.

Four other Chinese navy warships were also spotted passing through the Sibutu Strait last May 2. The navigation was without coordination, a senior military official said.  Evelyn Macairan, Michael Punongbayan, Roel Pareño, Jose Rodel Clapano, Ghio Ong, Sheila Crisostomo, Delon Porcalla, Emmanuel Tupas

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