The Philippine government summoned China’s top envoy in Manila on Tuesday to protest for the firing of a water cannon by a Chinese government vessel to drive away Filipino fishermen in a disputed shoal in the South China Sea. Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said a diplomatic protest was handed to Beijing’s charge d’affairs over the January 27 incident at Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing ground claimed by China and the Philippines.
The shoal came under Chinese control after Philippine vessels backed off from a tense standoff with Chinese ships in the area in 2012. Chinese coast guard and surveillance ships have since guarded the shoal, chasing Filipino fishermen away if they venture close. The Philippines has not deployed its ships to try to take back control of Scarborough, but asked an international tribunal last year to declare China’s seizure of the shoal and seven other South China Sea reefs illegal.
A Chinese coast guard vessel with bow No. 3063 used its water cannon for several minutes and sounded its horn to drive away two Filipino fishing boats near Scarborough, Hernandez told a news conference, adding it was the first time Chinese authorities had carried out such a hostile act against Filipino fishermen. “Bajo de Masinloc is an integral part of the Philippines and over which the Philippines exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction,” Hernandez said, using the Filipino name for the vast shoal area.
- The Royal Opera House Reopens After Decades Of Neglect: Here’s A Quick Tour
- Tata Sons Rubbishes Cyrus Mistry’s Allegations: Here’s What Happened
- Pakistan High Commissioner denies allegations leveled on his staffer for espionage activities
- Odisha: Villagers Refuse To Cremate Dalit Woman’s Body
- Here’s What Farhan Akhtar Said On Karan Johar-MNS ‘Deal’ Over Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’s Release
- Government’s Diwali Gift to Central Government Employees, Pensioners
- Bigg Boss 10 26th October Review: This Episode Is All About Fights
- New Zealand Beat India By 19 Runs In Ranchi; Series Levelled At 2-2
- DND Toll-Free: Noida Toll Company Moves Supreme Court Against Allahabad High Court
- British PM Theresa May Says Kashmir Is A Matter For India, Pakistan To Sort Out
- J&K: Students Suffer As Schools Along LOC Forced To Shut Amid Firing
- Jayalalithaa’s Health: AIADMK Women Supporters Continue Special Prayers For CM
- HTC Desire 10 Lifestyle First Look Video
- Fissures Remain Within Samajwadi Party: All You Need To Know
- Big Cheer For Delhi-Noida Commuters, DND Flyway Becomes Toll Free
Filipino fish trader Macario Forones said Chinese coast guard personnel used waste water laden with oil while blowing the horn and yelling “Go away, go away” at his fishermen. One or two other Philippine fishing boats were hit by the waste water, he said. “The water smelled of oil and smeared the side of my fishing boat,” Forones told The Associated Press by telephone. “But my fishermen did not really leave the area. We’ve spent so much money to travel there and they basically ignored the Chinese.”
Nine other instances of harassment were committed by Chinese government vessels on Filipino fishermen last year, including when Filipinos were prevented from taking shelter at the shoal during stormy weather, Hernandez said. President Benigno Aquino III said his government wanted an explanation from Beijing. Chinese Embassy officials did not immediately react to the Philippine protest. Hernandez said the Philippine government would take steps to protect its fishermen, but he did not specify how.