China water cannon attack slammed

February 26, 2014 - 12:00:00 am
MANILA:   The Philippines protested yesterday against China’s use of a water cannon on Filipino fishermen in disputed waters of the South China Sea warning that the incident would escalate tension.

China’s chargé d’affaires in Manila, Sun Xiangyang, was summoned to hear the Philippines “strongly protest the efforts of China to prohibit Filipino fishermen from undertaking fishing activities in the Philippines’ Bajo de Masinloc,” said Raul Hernandez, the foreign ministry spokesman.

Hernandez, referring to the South China Sea’s Scarborough Shoal fishing ground by its Philippine name, said the fishermen had been merely sheltering from bad weather in the area.

“We call on China to respect our sovereignty and rights of our fishermen,” Hernandez told a news conference. These actions, these incidents surely escalates the tension in the area. And this further threatens the peace and security and stability in the region.” China’s Foreign Ministry rebuffed the complaint, saying Chinese ships patrolled the region to protect China’s sovereignty and ensure “normal order.”

“China does not accept so-called representations or protests from the Philippines,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing in Beijing.

“For foreign ships in these seas, Chinese ships have been carrying out necessary management appropriately and reasonably,” she added. “We demand that the relevant country earnestly respect China’s sovereignty, and not provoke any new incidents.” 

Since the beginning of the year, China has required foreign fishing boats to get approval before entering the shoal. 

On January 27, a Chinese coastguard vessel tried to drive away Filipino fishermen from Scarborough Shoal by using a water cannon, General Emmanuel Bautista, Philippine military head said on Monday.         Reuters