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Chinese coast guard blocks vessels off South China Sea shoal, causing a collision, Philippines says

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AP
AP
March 04, 2024

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Chinese coast guard ships blocked Philippine vessels from a disputed South China Sea shoal Tuesday, causing a minor collision, Philippine officials said.

The Chinese vessels executed dangerous maneuvers against two Philippine ships that resulted in the collision between a Philippine coast guard vessel and a Chinese coast guard ship, Philippine coast guard spokesperson Commodore Jay Tarriela said.

The Philippine boat had minor structural damage, though no more details were available.

Tarriela did not say where the confrontation took place but the military earlier said navy personnel would deliver supplies and fresh troops to the Philippine-occupied Second Thomas Shoal, the site of several skirmishes between the rival claimant nations last year.

The territorial disputes in the South China Sea were expected to be high on the agenda of a summit of leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and their Australian counterpart this week.

Ahead of Wednesday’s summit, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said in a forum in Melbourne that his administration “will do whatever it takes” to confront any threat to his country’s territory but stressed Manila would continue “to tread the path of dialogue and diplomacy” in resolving disputes with China.

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