Manila: The Philippines on Sunday accused China of "blocking and water cannoning" a chartered supply boat in the South China Sea, which was en-route to Ayungin Shoal for a routine troop rotation and resupply mission, The Manila Times reported.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) condemned Chinese Coast Guard (CCG)'s action calling it "excessive and offensive."

“The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) strongly condemns the CCG's dangerous manoeuvres and illegal use of water cannons against the PCG vessels escorting the indigenous boats chartered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday, August 5, 2023,” the Philippines Coast Guard said in a Facebook post.

The post by PCG Spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, CG Commodore Jay Tarriela, stated that the boats that were blocked were delivering food, water, fuel and other supplies to our military troops stationed on BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

The PCG further said that the actions by CCG not only disregarded the safety of the PCG crew but also violate international law

“Such actions by the CCG not only disregarded the safety of the PCG crew and the supply boats but also violated international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), and the 2016 Arbitral Award,” the PCG stated.

It further called on CCG to restrain its forces, respect the Philippines’ sovereign rights and observe international maritime obligations.

“The PCG calls on the China Coast Guard to restrain its forces, respect the sovereign rights of the Philippines in its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, refrain from hampering freedom of navigation, and take appropriate actions against the individuals involved in this unlawful incident,” the PCG further stated.

It added, “We ask that China Coast Guard, as an organization with a responsibility to observe state obligations under UNCLOS, COLREGs, and other relevant instruments of international maritime safety and security, to cease all illegal activities within the maritime zones of the Philippines”.

Reacting to the incident, the United States said it stands with Manila amid the "dangerous actions" by the CCG, The Manila Times reported.

Through the US Embassy in Manila, the US Department of State (USDS) on Sunday called on China to abide by the 2016 arbitral ruling as well as "to respect the freedom of navigation – a right to which all states are entitled."

The US also reaffirmed that an armed attack on Philippine public vessels, aircraft, and armed forces, including those of its Coast Guard in the South China Sea, "would invoke US mutual defence commitments under Article 4 of the 1951 US Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty."

"Firing water cannons and employing unsafe blocking manoeuvres, PRC (People's Republic of China) ships interfered with the Philippines' lawful exercise of high seas freedom of navigation and jeopardized the safety of the Philippine vessels and crew," The Manila Times quoted the USDS as stating.

Such actions by China "are inconsistent with international law and are the latest in repeated threats to the status quo in the South China Sea, directly threatening regional peace and stability," it added.

By impeding the delivery of provisions to Filipino service members stationed at Second Thomas Shoal, China has also "undertaken unwarranted interference in lawful Philippine maritime operations," The Manila Times further quoted the USDS as stating.