Philippines accused by China of intentional maritime incident

China said the close-by accident in the South China Sea between a Chinese coast guard vessel and a Philippine patrol vessel carrying two journalists was caused by “deliberate provocation.”

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said at a regular press conference today, Friday: “The entry of a Philippine ship with two journalists on board into the waters of Renai Jiao was a deliberate provocation, and the intent was to seek confrontation. and create media hype.”

Earlier, the Philippine Coast Guard said it was confronting Chinese ships conducting “dangerous manoeuvres” in the South China Sea, in another series of tense maritime skirmishes between the two countries.

The incident came as the Coast Guard patrolled the strategic waterway for a week and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang was visiting Manila over the weekend to meet with his Filipino counterpart and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which about $3 trillion worth of goods pass each year. The Philippines has repeatedly called on Beijing to stop “hostile activities” in the region.

The Coast Guard said that during a mission it carried out from April 18 to 24, more than 100 ships believed to belong to the Chinese Navy, a warship belonging to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, and two ships of the Chinese Coast Guard were found within the waters. exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, extending for 200 miles.

He added that the Chinese ship was “carrying out dangerous maneuvers” about 45 meters from the Philippine ship, and the other two ships were using “hostile tactics” that posed “a great threat to the safety of the Philippine ship and its crew.” .”

Source: AFP + Reuters.

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