China and the Philippines face off in the South China Sea conflict South China Sea News

In the latest incident in disputed waters between China and the Philippines, two ships collided.

China and the Philippines have tried to blame each other for the boat collision in the South China Sea.

The Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) said in a statement on Monday that a Philippine supply vessel had a slight collision with a Chinese vessel that was at fault. The Philippines quickly rejected that account as tensions flared over the latest incident around the disputed South China Sea.

The Chinese report said a Philippine transport and replenishment ship ignored repeated „warnings” and instead approached the Chinese ship in a „dangerous and unprofessional manner”, leading to the collision.

It did not say if anyone was injured or how badly the unnamed vessels may have been damaged.

Beijing accused the Philippine vessel of „illegally wrecking in the sea near Renai Reef in China’s Nansha Islands,” the Chinese name for the disputed Spratly Islands.

„The Chinese Coast Guard took control measures against the Philippine vessel in accordance with law,” it added without elaborating.

Xerxes Trinidad, head of the Public Affairs Office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, told reporters that the CCG’s claims were „deceptive and misleading” and that the military would not discuss operational details of redeployment missions.

„Continued aggressive actions by the CCG increase tensions in the region.”

The military official added that the presence and activities of Chinese ships in the Second Thomas Shoal, the area where the incident occurred, which falls within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), are illegal.

Beijing claims the entire South China Sea, challenging the competing claims of several Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

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China and the Philippines have been trading accusations over dangerous maneuvers and clashes in the shoal for months.

While the Philippines has repeatedly warned against incursions into its territorial waters, China has also issued new rules, which came into effect on Saturday. Those provisions go into effect in 2021, allowing China’s coast guard to use lethal force against foreign ships in waters it claims.

The Coast Guard can detain foreigners suspected of trespassing for up to 60 days without trial.

An international tribunal in The Hague ruled in 2016 that Beijing had rejected China’s claims to the South China Sea.

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