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Philippines says summoned Chinese envoy over collisions in disputed waters

by Agence France Presse

Manila summoned Beijing’s ambassador on Monday over two collisions between Philippine and Chinese vessels in the disputed South China Sea, a foreign ministry official said.

“We’re making full use of diplomatic processes… available to us. That includes summoning the Chinese ambassador, which we did this morning,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Teresita Daza told reporters.

The Philippines and China have traded blame over Sunday’s incidents near Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands.

The two collisions happened during a routine Philippine resupply mission to Filipino troops stationed on a crumbling navy vessel grounded on the shoal to assert Manila’s territorial claims.

A Philippine government task force said Sunday the “dangerous blocking manoeuvers of China Coast Guard vessel 5203 caused it to collide with the Armed Forces of the Philippines-contracted indigenous resupply boat” about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the shoal.

China said the “slight collision” happened after the resupply boat ignored “multiple warnings and deliberately passed through law enforcement in an unprofessional and dangerous manner”, state broadcaster CCTV reported Sunday, citing the foreign ministry.

In another incident, a Philippine coastguard vessel escorting the routine resupply mission was “bumped” by what the Philippine task force described as a “Chinese Maritime Militia vessel”.

China, however, accused the Philippine boat of “deliberately” stirring up trouble by reversing in a “premeditated manner” into a Chinese fishing vessel.

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