Philippines accuses China of blasting navy supply boat with water cannon

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A Chinese coast guard ship blasted a Philippines navy-operated supply boat with a water cannon and harassed the vessel in the contested South China Sea for the second day in a row on Sunday, the head of the Philippine military said.

Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said he was aboard the Unnaiza Mae 1 when the Chinese coast guard blasted it with a water cannon. He said the Philippine vessel was bringing Christmas gifts, food and other supplies to Filipino marines and navy personnel stationed aboard the BRP Sierra Madre at Second Thomas Shoal.

“It’s pure aggression,” Brawner told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I witnessed how many times the big Chinese coast guard and militia ships cut our path. They water-cannoned us, then bumped us. It’s angering.”

In the two incidents on Saturday and Sunday, the pressure of the water cannon blasts disabled the Philippine supply boat M/L Kalayaan, which had to be towed back to a Philippine port, while one of two Philippine coast guard escort ships, the BRP Cabra, sustained damage to its mast, officials said.

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A Chinese Coast Guard ship used water cannons on Philippine navy-operated supply boat M/L Kalayaan as it approached Second Thomas Shoal in the disputed South China Sea on Sunday, Philippine officials said. (Philippine Coast Guard via AP)

Chinese ships also rammed a Philippine vessel off Second Thomas Shoal and separately in Scarborough Shoal off the northwestern Philippines.

Chinese boat ramming Philippine boat

A Chinese Coast Guard ship rammed the Philippine navy-operated supply boat Unaizah Mae 1 as it approached Second Thomas Shoal on Sunday, Philippine officials said. (Philippine Coast Guard via AP)

Meanwhile, Chinese officials have blamed the U.S. for encouraging the Philippines to provoke China.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning on Monday said the maritime disputes were “issues between the two countries, and no third party has the right to intervene.”

Chinese boat using water cannon of Philippine boat

A Chinese Coast Guard ship, bottom, used a water cannon on the Philippine coast guard patrol ship, BRP Cabra, center, as it approached Second Thomas Shoal on Sunday, Philippine officials said. (Philippine Coast Guard via AP)

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“Recently, the U.S., in order to realize its own geopolitical interests, has encouraged, supported, and cooperated with the Philippines in its violations and provocations in the South China Sea, exaggerating differences and inciting confrontation,” Mao told reporters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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