Philippine supply ship collides with Chinese vessel in South China Sea

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A Philippine supply ship dangerously approached a Chinese ship resulting in a slight collision after it illegally intruded into waters adjacent to the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, the Chinese coast guard said on Monday.

The Philippine transport and replenishment ship ignored China’s repeated solemn warnings, the coast guard said in a statement.

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The guard said the vessel deliberately and dangerously approached the Chinese ship in an unprofessional manner, resulting in a collision. The statement made no mention of injuries or damage to either vessel.

For months, China and the Philippines have traded accusations over dangerous maneuvers and collisions at the Second Thomas Shoal, an atoll in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Several incidents have happened when the Philippines deploys resupply missions for Filipino soldiers living aboard an aging warship there deliberately run aground to protect Manila’s maritime claims.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than $3 trillion of annual ship-borne commerce, including parts claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

China had previously warned the Philippines about intruding into its territorial waters and the country has issued new rules, which went into effect on June 15, that would enforce a 2021 law allowing its coastguard to use lethal force against foreign ships in waters that it claims.

The new rules allows China’s coastguard to detain suspected trespassers without trial for 60 days.

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