EU, US, countries stress importance of int’l law after China’s harassment

Kaycee Valmonte

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EU, US, countries stress importance of int’l law after China’s harassment
While harassment from Beijing has now been a regular part of Manila’s missions in the West Philippine Sea, this is the first time — under Marcos’ administration, at least — that Filipinos are hurt

MANILA, Philippines – Statements of support are pouring in for the Philippines after two China Coast Guard (CCG) ships blasted water cannons at a military-contracted vessel on a  resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, resulting in injuries to at least four Filipinos.

The four were on board Unaizah May 4,  which was chartered to conduct a regular resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre, the deliberately marooned rusting World War II vessel that serves as a Philippine military outpost in Ayungin Shoal.  

The pair of CCG ships targeted the much-smaller Unaizah Mae 4, smashing the ships wind shield.

While there is always high probability of harassment from Beijing during Manila’s missions in the West Philippine Sea, this is the first time — under the Marcos’ administration, at least — that Filipinos were hurt.

Embassies from different countries took to X (formerly Twitter) to express dismay over the incident and called on parties to show respect for international law, with some emphasizing the 2016 Arbitratral Award that invalidated China’s so-called 9-dash-line that included parts of Manila’s waters. The European Union was among the first to issue a statement on China’s “dangerous maneuvers and blocking” on Tuesday morning.

“The EU reiterates the call for all parties to abide by [the] legally binding 2016 Arbitration Award and international law to peacefully resolve disputes, guaranteeing safety in maritime waters,” EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Véron said.

The Netherlands also emphasized abiding by the law, including recognition for the 2016 award.

Germany, meanwhile, also called on “all parties” to fix issues peacefully.

Treaty ally the United States also condemned China’s latest maneuvers in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. Washington has consistently supported Manila against Beijing’s maneuvers, earning the ire of China.

“The US stands with the Philippines and proponents of international law in support of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson said.

Meanwhile, Japan and Australia raised concern over Beijing’s “dangerous actions.”

“Japan will continue to stand with the Philippines and cooperate with like-minded countries to maintain the peace and stability in the region,” the embassy of Japan said in a separate statement.

The development comes as Southeast Asian leaders were in Melbourne for the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit as the Land Down Under aims to deepen ties with neighboring countries.

Manila has since summoned Beijing’s deputy chief of mission over the incident and demanded that China’s vessels clear the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal. – with reports from Bea Cupin/Rappler.com

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