THREE Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked and water cannoned two Philippine supply boats that were on their way to transport food supplies to soldiers stationed off Ayungin Shoal, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
Locsin said no one was hurt in the incident, but the Philippine boats had to abort their resupply mission.
A military official said the Philippine vessel sustained damage caused by the water cannons.
He said they were also carrying repair materials for the BRP Sierra Madre stationed at the Ayungin Shoal.
Locsin said he conveyed in the strongest terms to the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines HE Huang Xilian and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing the country’s outrage, condemnation and protest of the “illegal” acts of the Chinese Coast Guard.
"I reminded China that a public vessel is covered by the Philippines-United States Mutual Defense Treaty," Locsin said.
“Ayungin Shoal is part of the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), which is an integral part of the Philippines, as well as the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, and over which the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction,” he added.
The secretary maintained that the Chinese “must take heed and back off” as they have no law enforcement rights in and around the said areas.
He said the incident threatens the special relationship between the Philippines and China that President Rodrigo Duterte and President Xi Jin Ping, respectively, have worked hard to nurture.
“The Philippines will continue to provide supplies to our troops in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal). We do not ask permission to do what we need to do in our territory,” said Locsin.
In a statement, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Philippines will continue to assert its sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the disputed territory.