(Bloomberg) -- The Philippines said it has successfully shipped fresh supplies to a military outpost in a shoal in the South China Sea despite what it described as attempts by Chinese vessels “to block, harass and interfere” with the mission.
A “significant number” of Chinese coast guard and maritime militia vessels tried to stop the latest resupply mission carried out by the Philippine military and coast guard on Wednesday, Manila’s National Security Council said in a statement.
China said it warned two Philippine supply boats and two coast guard vessels to leave the sea area near Nansha Islands on Wednesday and followed the ships throughout, according to a statement from the Chinese coast guard.
Nansha Islands is how Beijing calls Spratly Islands in the South China Sea that’s being claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Taiwan.
The Philippines has been regularly shipping provisions to a World War II-era ship in Second Thomas Shoal that has served as its outpost in the disputed sea since 1999. But Manila has said China’s coast guard and maritime militia ships had constantly tried to block these missions and the Philippines has been publishing videos and images of these encounters to back up its claims.
The Philippines said a Chinese coast guard ship blocked and fired water cannons on a supply vessel on Aug. 5, which prompted Manila to issue a diplomatic note. China’s coast guard has said its actions were professional and justified.
In another shoal in the South China Sea, Manila said last week that it removed a barrier that was installed by China. Beijing has, however, said it took out the structure by itself, as it maintained sovereignty in the area.
The two nations have been locked in a territorial dispute in the resource-rich waters, with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ramping up protests over China’s actions since he took power last year. Despite a 2016 international arbitral tribunal ruling that invalidated its expansive claims, China has been building up several unoccupied land features in the South China Sea, key route for around $3 trillion worth of traded goods.
Marcos’s administration “will remain steadfast in adhering to a rules-based international order,” the statement from the country’s national security agency said.
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