MANILA: Three Philippine troops were injured in the latest China Coast Guard water cannon attack on a Filipino supply vessel near a South China Sea reef, Manila’s national security adviser said on Sunday.

The Philippine government said Saturday’s confrontation caused severe damage to the Unaizah May 4 vessel while it was on its way to deliver troops and provisions to a Philippine navy ship grounded atop the Second Thomas Shoal.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, brushing off rival claims from other countries, including the Philippines, and an international ruling that its assertion has no legal basis.

National Security Adviser Eduardo Ano said three navy personnel aboard the vessel were injured in Saturday’s incident. The extent and nature of their injuries were not disclosed, though the military said the personnel were treated aboard a coast guard escort ship.

Four crew members were injured by broken glass in an earlier China Coast Guard water cannon attack on the same vessel on March 5. “This is just an ordinary rotation and resupply or provision operation but look at how the Chinese are reacting,” Ano told reporters.

Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2024

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