Philippines Blasts China’s Moves After Sea Clash Injured Sailor

(Bloomberg) -- The Philippines called on China to respect its sovereignty after a Filipino Navy personnel was severely hurt in one of the most serious encounters between the two nations in the South China Sea.

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“The DFA denounces the illegal and aggressive actions of Chinese authorities that resulted in personnel injury and vessel damage,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday.

The department said it’s been exerting efforts to “rebuild a conducive environment for dialogue and consultation” with China on their maritime dispute. “We expect China to act sincerely and responsibly, and refrain from behavior that puts to risk the safety of personnel and vessels,” it added.

The Philippine military said a personnel sustained “severe injury” on Monday after the China Coast Guard’s “intentional high-speed ramming” of a Philippine vessel on a routine mission to resupply troops in an outpost in the Second Thomas Shoal.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s government has been asserting its territorial claims in the resource-rich waterway, often clashing with China which has expansive claims. Beijing, which has maintained that its actions in the contested waters are lawful, said on Monday that it took “control measures” including boarding and inspection and forced eviction against Philippine vessels in the latest encounter.

Philippine miilitary chief Romeo Brawner Jr. has said that the nation’s armed forces “remains committed to upholding the rule of law” and will work with international partners to secure peace and stability across the South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific region.

--With assistance from Andreo Calonzo.

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