Vessels collide in dispute water: Philippines, China trade accusations against each other
By TOI Desk Report December 10, 2023 Update on : December 11, 2023
A Philippine boat on Sunday collided with a Chinese ship near a contested reef in the South China Sea at the centre of a territorial dispute between China, the Philippines, and other countries, report BBC and Reuters.
Both countries traded blame for such a collision in the disputed shoal, in the latest territorial dispute between the two countries.
The incident happened a day after the Philippines accused China of using water cannons to block three government boats. The ships were delivering provisions to Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal.
The mishap took place during a Philippine resupply mission to a tiny garrison on Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands, a flashpoint between the two countries.
The Philippine Coast Guard claimed that China fired water cannons and rammed vessels and a coast guard ship. The hitting and use of water cannons caused “serious engine damage” to one.
China’s coast guard claimed the Philippine vessel hit its ship purposefully.
The China Coast Guard said in a statement that the changing direction of Philippine boat suddenly was in an unprofessional, dangerous manner, which collided with our Coast Guard Vessel.
Earlier this week, the Philippines accused China of “swarming” a coral off their coast after over 135 military boats were detected in the South China Sea.
The conflict between the two countries over sovereignty has escalated since Ferdinand Marcos Jr was elected president of the Philippines last year.
Last month, the Philippines conducted two different combined air and sea patrols with the United States, and with Australia a few days earlier.
In 2016, an international court canceled China’s claim to 90% of the South China Sea, but the country does not agree with the ruling and has been building islands in the disputed waters in recent years.