Philippines, China trade blame for collision in disputed waters

Philippines, China trade blame for collision in disputed waters

The China Coast Guard, however, accused the Philippine boat of “deliberately colliding” with the Chinese vessel after “disregarding our multiple stern warnings”.

The Philippine boat “changed direction suddenly in an unprofessional, dangerous manner, deliberately colliding with our Coast Guard Vessel 21556, which was on a normal law enforcement route, and caused a scrape”, the China Coast Guard said in a statement.


Hours before the latest incident, a civilian convoy involving 100 Filipino fishermen embarked on a trip that would pass Second Thomas Shoal as part of a mission to deliver Christmas cheer and provisions to a remote outpost.

Second Thomas Shoal is about 200km from the western Philippine island of Palawan, and more than 1,000 kilometres from China’s nearest major landmass, Hainan island.

A handful of Filipino troops are stationed on the crumbling BRP Sierra Madre, which the Philippine Navy grounded on the reef in 1999 to check China’s advance in the waters.

The troops depend on the resupply missions for their survival.

It is not clear if the supply boats were able to deliver their cargo on Sunday.

The Philippines and China have a long history of maritime incidents in the contested South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars of trade pass annually.

Tensions between Manila and Beijing have escalated as China becomes more assertive in pressing its claims to the waters, with the Philippines publishing strongly-worded statements with videos and photos of the incidents.

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, who took power in June 2022 and immediately set about improving ties with traditional ally Washington, warned last month that the situation in the South China Sea had become “more dire”.