MANILA – The Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), has expressed outrage after three Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked and water cannoned two Filipino supply boats while en route to Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) this week.
The agency said the incident happened on November 16 while the two boats were about to transport food supplies to Philippine military personnel who are stationed in the Ayungin.
No one was hurt but the boats had to abort their resupply mission.
“I have conveyed in the strongest terms to H.E. Huang Xilian, Ambassador of China and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing our outrage, condemnation, and protest of the incident,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. said Thursday.
He also reminded the Chinese side that a public vessel is covered by the Philippines-United States Mutual Defense Treaty.
Ayungin Shoal is part of the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), which is an integral part of the Philippines, as well as Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, and over which the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction.
Locsin said these acts committed by the Chinese Coast Guard are “illegal” and that China has no law enforcement rights in and around these areas.
“They must take heed and back off,” he stressed.
He added that this failure to exercise self-restraint “threatens the special relationship” between the Philippines and China that President Rodrigo Duterte and President Xi Jinping worked hard to nurture.
Locsin said the Philippine government would continue to provide supplies to its troops in Ayungin Shoal.
“We do not ask permission to do what we need to do in our territory,” he said.Ayungin Shoal is located about 105 nautical miles off Palawan, Philippines, well within the country’s 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone. (PNA)