A Chinese coast guard vessel water cannoned a Philippine navy supply vessel and harassed the vessel in the disputed South China Sea for a second straight day on Sunday, the Philippine military chief said.
General Romeo Brawner Jr. said he was on board the Unnaiza Mae 1 when the Chinese coast guard fired a water cannon at it. He said the Philippine ship was bringing Christmas gifts, food and other supplies to Filipino marines and navy personnel stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre at Second Thomas Shoal.
“It’s pure aggression,” Browner told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I witnessed how many times the big Chinese coast guard and militia ships cut off our path. They threw water at us and then hit us. It’s infuriating.”
In the two incidents on Saturday and Sunday, the pressure of the water cannon blasts disabled the Philippine supply vessel M/L Kalayaan, which had to be towed back to a Philippine port, while one of the two Philippine Coast Guard escort vessels, the BRP Cabra , suffered damage to its mast, officials said.
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Chinese ships also intercepted a Philippine ship off Second Thomas Shoal and separately at Scarborough Shoal in the northwest of the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Chinese officials accused the US of encouraging the Philippines to provoke China.
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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said on Monday that maritime disputes are “matters between the two countries and no third party has the right to interfere”.
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“Recently, the US, in order to realize its own geopolitical interests, has encouraged, supported and cooperated with the Philippines in its violations and provocations in the South China Sea, increasing differences and inciting confrontation,” Mao told the journalists.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.