China has no right to damage PH assets within EEZ: AFP chief

By Priam Nepomuceno

June 19, 2024, 8:52 am Updated on June 19, 2024, 4:56 pm

<p>Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. <em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Romeo Brawner Jr. scored China for its latest act of "reckless and aggressive" harassment that targeted a rotation and resupply (RORE) mission for Filipino troops manning the BRP Sierra Madre (LS-57) in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) last June 17.

In a statement Tuesday evening, Brawner said the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) has "no right or legal authority to interfere with our legitimate operations or damage our assets within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)."

"This reckless and aggressive behavior has caused bodily harm and constitutes a blatant violation of international maritime law, Philippine sovereignty, and sovereign rights," he said.

Earlier, the AFP said the intentional ramming by the CCG on the Philippine ship involved in the RORE mission severely injured one Navy personnel.

However, the military did not give more specific details on the injuries and damage caused to the vessel.

"The AFP strongly denounces these actions, which not only infringe upon our maritime rights but also pose significant risks to regional stability," Brawner said.

Earlier reports, citing unnamed sources, said that at least eight Navy personnel were hurt, with one losing a finger, when Chinese maritime forces boarded and punctured their rigid-hulled inflatable boats, damaging the craft, aside from confiscating several items onboard.

The AFP has yet to comment and confirm this allegation as of posting.

Department of National Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. earlier said China’s dangerous and reckless behavior in the WPS "shall be resisted by the AFP."


China's escalatory actions in Ayungin Shoal were meant to provoke the Philippines and its ally, the United States, into actions that would justify its claims that Washington is trying to go to war with Beijing, National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) spokesperson Philippine Coast Guard Commodore Jay Tarriela said.

“They clearly hope that the US will also be agitated to justify their false narrative that Washington really wants to go to war against Beijing,” Tarriela said over X.

He said China is intentionally failing to admit that its actions in the WPS are “a big gamble that would impact not just the region but the entire global trade.”

Tarriela’s statement was in response to a video by China-backed media outfit Global Times that it is the Philippines that tried to provoke trouble during the incident in Ayungin Shoal on Monday that resulted in personnel injury and damage to the vessel. (With Raymond Carl dela Cruz/PNA)