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South China Sea: Philippines accuses Chinese coastguard of blocking sick soldier’s evacuation

Coastguard spokesperson Jay Tarriela said coastguard and navy rubber boats were harassed by the Chinese vessels, despite having informed them the operation was of a medical nature.

“The barbaric and inhumane behaviour displayed by the China coastguard has no place in our society,” Tarriela said in a statement.

The Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing will allow the Philippines to send vital supplies to the grounded warship if it gives advance notice.

“But the Philippine side should not use it as a pretext to send construction materials to the grounded warship,” ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a news briefing on Friday.

Tarriela said the Chinese coastguard “engaged in dangerous manoeuvres and even intentionally rammed the PN RHIB while transporting the sick personnel.”

“What should have been a simple medical evacuation operation was subjected to harassment,” Tarriela said.


Beijing denies Manila’s claim that Chinese ships making ‘artificial island’ in South China Sea

Philippine military chief Romeo Brawner said on Tuesday the first attempt to transport the sick soldier to the western province of Palawan failed after they were blocked by the Chinese.

Another attempt was made the next day with the help of the Philippine coastguard and the soldier was successfully evacuated, Brawner said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than US$3 trillion in annual ship commerce, and has deployed hundreds of coastguard vessels as far as 1,000km off its mainland to police what it says is its jurisdiction.

The Philippines and China have sparred repeatedly this past year near disputed features that fall in Manila’s exclusive economic zone. China routinely accuses the Philippines of encroachment while Manila and