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Philippines accuses China of shooting water cannon at its boats

The Philippines has accused China of using water cannons to obstruct three of its vessels, in the latest territorial dispute between the two countries in the South China Sea.

Video footage shows Chinese ships firing powerful blasts of water toward the Philippine government vessels.

The Philippines called China’s actions “illegal and aggressive”.

The South China Sea is at the center of a territorial dispute between China, the Philippines, and other countries.

The incident happened near Scarborough Shoal, a flashpoint between the two countries. Beijing seized the shoal in 2012 and Chinese boats have since harassed Philippine fishermen in the area.

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea said that “Chinese Coast Guard ships utilized water cannons to obstruct” government vessels from delivering fuel and food supplies to fishing boats.

The agency said it “vehemently condemns the illegal and aggressive actions”.

Beijing said it had used what it called “control measures” on ships that had intruded into its waters.

Earlier this week, the Philippines accused China of “swarming” a reef off its coast after more than 135 military boats were spotted in the South China Sea.

On Sunday, the Philippines plans to send a Christmas convoy of around 40 boats to distribute gifts and other provisions to people on Thitu island, the Philippines’ largest occupied island in the South China Sea.

Friction between the two countries over competing sovereignty claims has increased since Ferdinand Marcos Jr became Philippine president last year.

Last month, the Philippines carried out two separate joint air and sea patrols with the US, and with Australia a few days earlier.

An international tribunal invalidated China’s claim to 90% of the South China Sea in 2016, but Beijing does not recognize the ruling and has been building islands in the disputed waters in recent years.

The contested waters have also become a naval flashpoint for China-US relations, and in October, US President Joe Biden warned that the US would defend the Philippines in case of any attack.

President Biden’s comments were made days after two collisions between Filipino and Chinese vessels in the waters.

Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei also claim parts of the sea.

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