The Philippines has accused Chinese coast guard vessels of firing water cannons and harassing Philippine vessels during a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre, a military outpost in the disputed South China Sea. This incident near Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands is the latest in a series of confrontations between the two countries over territorial claims. Despite the harassment, the Philippine government confirmed that the resupply mission was successfully completed.
- Incident Details: Chinese coast guard vessels reportedly used water cannons against Philippine resupply boats heading to the BRP Sierra Madre, a grounded former US Navy ship claimed by Manila in the South China Sea.
- Claims of Sovereignty: China claims “indisputable sovereignty” over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters, including Ren’ai Reef, challenging the Philippines’ territorial claims in the region.
- Recent Tensions: The incident is part of an ongoing series of confrontations in the disputed area, which has previously included two collisions near the same location.
- Philippines’ Response: The Philippine government condemned China’s actions, expressing concerns over the risk to lives and the sincerity of China’s calls for peaceful dialogue.
- Global Significance: The South China Sea is considered a potential flashpoint for international conflict, with escalating tensions between the Philippines and China drawing attention from Western observers.