Philippines accuse Chinese coast guard of ransacking navy ships with "spears and knives"

Manila, Philippines - Days after a Chinese vessel collided with a Filipino supply ship in the South China Sea, the Philippines military is accusing Beijing's Coast Guard of deliberately ramming navy ships and seizing supplies.

Chinese coast guard and Filipino Navy vessels continue to confront one another in the South China Sea, especially around the Second Thomas Shoal.
Chinese coast guard and Filipino Navy vessels continue to confront one another in the South China Sea, especially around the Second Thomas Shoal.  © JAM STA ROSA/AFP

As tensions continue to mount around the Second Thomas Shoal, where a small host of Filipino troops are stationed in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, the Philippines have accused China of deliberate confrontation.

Several mariners were harmed in a collision between a Chinese coast guard vessel and a Filipino supply ship on Monday, which the US condemned as "aggressive, dangerous maneuvers."

Now, the Philippines has accused the Chinese Coast Guard of ramming and boarding Filipino ships, before seizing firearms. According to Rear Admiral Alfonso Torres, "personnel illegally embarked on our RHIBS," before taking firearms that were hidden in the boats and deliberately kept out of view.

Chinese jets circle Taiwan as intimidating military drills continue
China Chinese jets circle Taiwan as intimidating military drills continue

The Philippine's military chief General Romeo Brawner said in a press conference that Chinese personnel were armed with swords, spears, and knives.

"This is the first time that we saw the Chinese coast guard carry bolos, spears, and knives," Brawner said. "Our troops had none of those... We fought back with our bare hands."

"They took guns and other equipment, destroyed our equipment on board including the motors. They punctured our rigid-hulled inflatable boats."

"We are demanding that the Chinese return our rifles and our equipment, and we are also demanding from them to pay for the damages that they have caused."

China hits back at Filipino ramming allegations

China's coast guard has on occasion deployed water canons against Filipino vessels.
China's coast guard has on occasion deployed water canons against Filipino vessels.  © JAM STA ROSA/AFP

In response to the accusations, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian on Monday attempted to justify the coast guard's actions in a statement to the press.

Actions of coast guard staff upheld regulations rolled out "to enforce China’s Coast Guard Law, standardize the administrative law-enforcement procedures of Coast Guard agencies and better uphold order at sea," he insisted.

Addressing the incident, Jian said: "One supply vessel and two speed boats of the Philippines, without permission from the Chinese government, intruded into waters near Ren’ai Jiao in China’s Nansha Qundao in an attempt to send materials, including construction materials, to the military vessel illegally grounded at Ren’ai Jiao."

"China's Coast Guard took necessary control measures to stop the Philippine vessels in accordance with the law. The maneuvers at the scene were professional, restrained, justified and lawful."

Cover photo: JAM STA ROSA/AFP

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