(Bloomberg) -- Chinese Coast Guard ships fired water cannons at Filipino civilian vessels taking supplies to Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, according to Philippines officials.
The Chinese boats also engaged in “dangerous maneuvers” and deployed what’s believed to be a Long-Range Acoustic Device “causing severe temporary discomfort and incapacitation to some Filipino crew,” the Philippines’ maritime task force said in a statement.
China’s use of water cannons caused “significant damage” to the communication and navigation equipment of a Philippine fisheries bureau vessel, according to the statement posted by Coast Guard spokesperson Jay Tarriela on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
“To prevent the distribution of humanitarian support is not only illegal but also inhumane,” the Philippine task force said, adding that inflatable boats were used to disperse fishing boats awaiting aid. China also deployed a vessel to install a floating barrier at an entrance of the shoal, the task force said.
Aboard a Philippine Patrol Ship in Waters Claimed by China
The US Ambassador to the Philippines, MaryKay Carlson, said in a post on X that Washington condemns China’s “aggressive, illegal actions” against the Filipino vessels.
Manila and Beijing have in the past months faced off in several tense encounters in the disputed waters, where China has expansive claims. The Scarborough Shoal became the site of tensions between the two countries in September, when the Philippines said it took out a barrier installed by China in the area.
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