Australian ambassador to the Philippines slams ‘illegal’ Chinese navy action

Duncan EvansNewsWire
Not Supplied
Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Australia’s ambassador to The Philippines has publicly rebuked Beijing for what she called a “dangerous” and “illegal” incident in international waters, casting a shadow over the final day of Chinese Premier Li Qiang’s visit to Australia.

Ambassador HK Yu PSM, writing on social media, said she shared The Philippines’ “deep concern” over “dangerous and illegal actions by China’s vessels near Second Thomas Shoal, causing injury, damaging Philippines vessels and endangering lives and regional stability”.

“States must act consistently with international law, incl. UNCLOS,” Ms Yu said.

The incident involved a clash between Philippine and Chinese boats on Monday in the contested waters of the South China Sea.

The location of the incident. Google Maps
Camera IconThe location of the incident. Google Maps Credit: News Corp Australia

Writing on social media, Philippine military commander Jay Tarriela claimed the Chinese navy disrupted a routine rotation and resupply mission to the Ayungin Shoal by “ramming” and “towing” Philippine military and coast guard boats.

“The mission was disrupted by the illegal and aggressive actions of Chinese maritime forces,” he said.

“The People’s Liberation Army-navy, China Coast Guard and Chinese Maritime Militia vessels engaged in dangerous manoeuvres, including ramming and towing.

“Despite the illegal, aggressive and reckless actions by the Chinese maritime forces, our personnel showed restraint and professionalism, refrained from escalating the tension and carried on with their mission.

Yu Tweet Philippines China – June 18

“We strongly condemn the illegal, aggressive and reckless actions of the PLA-N, CCG, and CMM.

“Their actions put at risk the lives of our personnel and damaged our boats in blatant violation of international law, particularly the United Nations Charter, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 Arbitral Award.”

Multiple nations including The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan hold overlapping claims to portions of the sea.

China claims ownership to almost the entire sea based on its “nine-dash-line” demarcation.

The incident and public rebuke comes as Mr Li meets with business leaders in Perth before jetting out of the country.

Nationals Leader David Littleproud says there “should be an apology” from China for the treatment of Cheng Lei at a media event. Sky News journalist Cheng Lei was blocked by Chinese officials at a media event between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Mr Littleproud told Sky News Australia that Cheng Lei’s treatment by Chinese officials was “disgraceful”.

Mr Li’s visit has been marred by a diplomatic kerfuffle on Monday, in which parts of the Chinese delegation tried to block cameras from filming Sky News journalist Cheng Lei during a meeting between Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Mr Li in Canberra.

Speaking with Sky News after the event, Ms Lei said the Chinese delegation had gone to “great lengths to block me”.

“I’m only guessing this is to prevent me from saying something or doing something that they think would be a bad look, but that in itself was a bad look,” she said.

The prime minister later denounced the behaviour.

“There should be no impediments to Australian journalists going about their job and we’ve made that clear to the Chinese Embassy,” Mr Albanese said.

Originally published as Australian ambassador to the Philippines slams ‘illegal’ Chinese navy action

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