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Philippines rejects China's "deceptive", "misleading" allegation in South China Sea

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Manila | June 17, 2024 2:41:19 PM IST
The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Monday rejected China's allegation that a Philippines ship illegally entered its waters and collided with one of its coast guard vessels, terming it "deceptive and misleading of the China Coast Guard, Philippines News Agency (PNA) reported.

In a message to reporters, Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs office chief Col. Xerxes Trinidad stated, "The AFP will not discuss operational details on the legal humanitarian rotation and resupply mission at Ayungin Shoal, which is well within our EEZ (exclusive economic zone)."

Trinidad added, "We will not dignify the deceptive and misleading claims of the China Coast Guard (CCG)," PNA reported.

The AFP official stressed that the presence and actions of Chinese vessels within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ) that infringe on Manila's sovereignty and sovereign rights remain the main issue.

Xerxes Trinidad said that the China Coast Guard's continued aggressive actions escalate tensions in the region, PNA reported.

The statement of the Armed Forces of the Philippines came after the China Coast Guard (CCG) claimed that a Philippine replenishment ship illegally entered waters near Ren'ai Reef (Chinese name of Ayungin Shoal) on Monday, forcing them to take appropriate actions.

Notably, Ayungin Shoal is a submerged reef in the Spratlys Islands in the South China Sea (SCS). The BRP Sierra Madre, which is considered an outpost of the Philippine Navy, has been grounded in Ayungin since 1999.

Earlier in May, the Philippines summoned a Chinese envoy after Beijing's use of a water cannon against two Philippine vessels during a patrol in the South China Sea and accused China of "harassment" and "dangerous manoeuvres," Al Jazeera reported.

The Philippines Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned China's deputy chief of mission Zhou Zhiyong on Thursday. Philippines' action comes two days after the incident at a disputed shoal that caused damage to a Philippine coastguard vessel and another government boat.

The ministry said it was the 20th protest by the Philippines against the conduct of Chinese coastguard and fishing vessels this year. The ministry has made 153 complaints in the past two years.

In a statement, the Philippines Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, "The Philippines protested the harassment, ramming, swarming, shadowing and blocking, dangerous manoeuvres, use of water cannons, and other aggressive actions of [the] China Coast Guard and Chinese maritime militia." (ANI)

 
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