| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

UK slams China over incidents in South China Sea against Philippines

On Monday, December 11, the United Kingdom strongly criticized the “unsafe and escalatory tactics” used by Chinese vessels against the Philippines over the weekend in the South China Sea.
In a statement, Britain’s foreign office said: “The UK opposes any action which raises tensions, including harassment, unsafe conduct and intimidation tactics which increase the risk of miscalculation and threaten regional peace and stability.”

“Both China and the Philippines must adhere to the findings of the 2016 Arbitral Award proceedings, which are legally binding on both parties,” it added.
The Philippine Coast Guard released videos which showed Chinese ships blasting water cannons at Philippine boats during two separate resupply missions to fishermen at Scarborough Shoal and a tiny garrison at Second Thomas Shoal on Saturday and Sunday.

Manila claimed that there was also a collision between Philippine and Chinese boats at the Second Thomas Shoal.

Notably, Thomas Shoal is a region where several Filipino troops are stationed on a grounded warship.

Both countries have blamed each other.

The Philippines said that the military chief General Romeo Brawner was on board the Filipino supply boat involved in the collision and called the actions of Chinese vessels a “serious escalation”.

In a press conference where officials showed images and videos of the water cannons and the ramming, Jonathan Malaya, spokesperson of the National Security Council, said: “This is a serious escalation on the part of the agents of the People’s Republic of China.”
A spokesperson at the Chinese embassy in London said Beijing firmly opposes and strongly condemns the UK’s “groundless accusations”, and has lodged stern representations with the British side on this.

“We urge the British side to respect China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, stop stirring up trouble and sowing discord,” the remarks posted on the embassy website said.

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