West Philippine Sea

Foreign governments stand with Philippines after latest incident in Ayungin Shoal


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Foreign governments stand with Philippines after latest incident in Ayungin Shoal

HARASSMENT. A Philippine Coast Guard vessel is 'impeded and encircled' by Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea on March 23, 2024.

Screengrab from Philippine Coast Guard video

(3rd UPDATE) New Zealand, among the first to issue a statement, says it is 'fundamental to regional stability' for maritime disputes to be 'resolved peacefully in accordance with international law'

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign governments on Saturday, March 23, rallied behind the Philippines after the China Coast Guard again used water cannons against a Philippine vessel on a routine rotation and resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, damaging the boat and causing injuries among some crew members.

“The US stands with the Philippines against the PRC’s repeated dangerous maneuvers & water cannons to disrupt @CoastGuardPH lawful activities in the Philippines’ EEZ. The PRC’s interference with Philippines’ freedom of navigation violates international law & threatens a #FreeAndOpenIndoPacific,” US Ambassador MaryKay L. Carlson said on X (formerly Twitter).

Japan also expressed its “grave concern” over the latest incident involving the China Coast Guard and Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

“Japan reiterates its grave concern on the repeated dangerous actions by CCG in SCS which resulted in Filipino injuries. Japan stands in solidarity with the PH as confirmed at the Japan-Philippines-US Vice Foreign Ministers’ meeting held in this week,” Japanese Ambassador-designate to the Philippines Endo Kazuya said on X.

Foreign governments stand with Philippines after latest incident in Ayungin Shoal

New Zealand was among the first to issue a statement, via its social media page, about the incident.

“New Zealand is deeply concerned at further actions today by Chinese vessels towards the Philippines at Second Thomas Shoal. These endanger lives at sea. It is fundamental to regional stability that maritime disputes are resolved peacefully in accordance with international law, particularly UNCLOS,” the New Zealand embassy in Manila said on X.

European Union (EU) Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Veron said that he was “concerned by recurring dangerous manoeuvres, blocking and water-cannoning from Chinese Coast Guard vessels and Maritime Militia against Philippine vessels engaged in resupply missions.”

“The EU reiterates the call for all parties to abide by the legally binding 2016 Arbitration Award and #internationallaw to peacefully resolve disputes, guaranteeing safety for all in maritime waters,” Veron said on X.

The EU, meanwhile, said China’s recent acts against the Philippines “constituted a dangerous provocation” and “put human lives at risk, undermine regional stability and international norms, and threaten security in the region and beyond.”

United Kingdom’s Laure Beaufils and Dutch Ambassador to the Philippines Marielle Geraedts also issued separate statements expressing concern over Saturday’s incident.

The two reiterated the importance of following international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Geraedts also urged China to honor the arbitral award that the Philippines won in 2016.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HK Yu said the incident was “part of a pattern of deeply concerning behaviour” on the part of China.

“We share the Philippines’ serious concerns about dangerous conduct by China’s vessels adjacent to Second Thomas Shoal today…. UNCLOS is the basis for peace and stability in the South China Sea,” she said.

French Ambassador to the Philippines Marie Fontanel said in a statement that France opposes any threat or use of force, adding that dialogue is important in resolving disputes.

German Ambassador to the Philippines Andreas Pfaffernoschke, meanwhile, said Germany “is very concerned about the dangerous incident involving vessels of the China Coast Guard, causing heavy damage on a Philippine resupply mission ship in the exclusive economic zone of the [Philippines].”

On Tuesday, March 26, South Korean foreign ministry spokesperson Lim Soo-suk told a briefing: “We are gravely concerned about the recent and repeated use of water cannons in the South China Sea. These actions increase tensions in the South China Sea, a major international navigation route used by all countries including Korea, and undermine efforts to maintain peace, stability, security and a rules-based maritime order.” – with a report from Reuters/Rappler.com



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  1. PR

    All democratic countries need to step up and assist the Philippines in the defence of its territories. This will affect all countries enjoying the freedom of navigation through the West Philippine Sea.

  2. ET

    Thanks for these concerns from the said countries. But it should be more than that.

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