| 4 March 2024, Monday |

Philippines says military chief was aboard ship rammed by Chinese vessels

The Philippines on Monday denounced as a “serious escalation” the activities of Chinese vessels against its boats that were conducting resupply missions in the South China Sea over the weekend, one of which had a senior military official from the Philippines.

Manila said that the resupply boats were being frequently targeted by water cannon fire by the Chinese coast guard and maritime militia, resulting in “serious engine damage” to one and “deliberately” ramming another. Romeo Brawner, the chief of staff of the armed forces in the Philippines, stated that he was on a ship that was struck by a ram and doused with water from a cannon.

“This is a serious escalation on the part of the agents of the People’s Republic of China,” Jonathan Malaya, spokesperson of the National Security Council, said in a press conference where officials showed images and videos of the water cannons and ramming.

Brawner told Philippine radio station DZBB that he was unhurt and that he did not believe China knew he was onboard the boat.

The Philippines has filed diplomatic protests and has summoned China’s ambassador over its “aggressive” actions in the South China Sea, which a foreign ministry official said were a “threat to peace, good order and security”.

  • Reuters