Philippines accuses Chinese coast guard of shooting water cannon at its boats

Incident happened near China-controlled Scarborough Shoal, a flashpoint between Manila and Beijing

MANILA-The Philippines accused the Chinese coast guard on Saturday of using water cannons to “obstruct” three government boats delivering provisions to Filipino fishermen near a reef off its coast. The incident happened near the China-controlled Scarborough Shoal, a flashpoint between Manila and Beijing, which claims almost the entirety of the South China Sea.
The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea said in a statement that “Chinese Coast Guard ships utilized water cannons to obstruct and prevent” government vessels from delivering fuel and food supplies to fishing boats.
The multi-agency task force said it “vehemently condemns the illegal and aggressive actions carried out by the Chinese Coast Guard and Chinese Maritime Militia”. But Chinese state television said the country’s coast guard had used “control measures in accordance with the law” against the Philippine vessels that had “intruded” into waters around the shoal.
China snatched control of Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines in 2012 following a tense standoff.
Since then, Beijing has deployed patrol boats that Manila says harass Philippine vessels and prevent Filipino fishermen from reaching the lagoon, where fish are more plentiful.

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