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China says Philippine personnel pointed guns at its coast guard in disputed waters

China says Philippine personnel pointed guns at its coast guard in disputed waters
A Chinese Coast Guard vessel blocks the Philippine resupply vessel Unaizah May 4, on its way to a resupply mission at Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, March 5, 2024.
PHOTO: Reuters

BEIJING – Chinese state media said on June 2 that personnel on a Philippine ship pointed guns at the country’s Coast Guard in disputed waters of the South China Sea in May.

At least two people on the Philippine vessel near the Second Thomas Shoal were carrying guns on deck, pointing them in the direction of the Coast Guard, China Central Television (CCTV) said.

An accompanying 29-second video appears to show a masked man momentarily holding up a blurred black object that resembles a rifle.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than $3 trillion (S$4 trillion) of annual ship-borne commerce, including parts claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 said China's claims had no legal basis.

CCTV said the incident occurred during a Philippine mission to supply troops stationed on a rusting warship that Manila grounded in 1999 to reinforce its sovereignty claims.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, in a speech on May 31 at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore that was also attended by China’s defence minister, made a thinly veiled reference to Beijing. He denounced what he called illegal, coercive and aggressive actions in the South China Sea, which were undermining South-east Asian countries’ vision for “peace, stability and prosperity” in the sea.

Confrontations between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea have grown more tense and frequent during the past year, including China’s Coast Guard using water cannons and accusations by Manila that its vessels were rammed.

ALSO READ: Philippines says Chinese coast guard elevating tensions in South China Sea

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