Chinese coast guard attacked two Philippine supply ships on Nov. 16 using a water cannon for trespassing, according to its Foreign Ministry spokesman.
The Philippine boats trespassed into waters near Ren’ai Jiao of China’s Nansha Qundao, according to a transcript of Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian’s briefing posted on the agency’s website on Thursday.
Ren’ai Jiao is the Chinese name for Ayungin or the Second Thomas Shoal.
The spokesman said Chinese coast guards had followed their mandate. “Chinese coast guard vessels performed official duties in accordance with law and upheld China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime order.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier told China to back off because it has “no law enforcement rights in and around these areas.”
It also warned that the incident could jeopardize relations between the two countries, while citing its Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States.
The Chinese spokesman said the Philippines and China were in talks about the incident. DFA did not immediately respond to a WhatsApp message seeking comment. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan