China has used water cannons in opposition to Philippine ships

The Philippine Marines occupied an atoll in the South China Sea, which provoked a sharp protest from China, but also a warning from the Philippine government that its ships were “covered” by a defense agreement with the United States, said a senior official from Manila.

Foreign Minister Theodoro Loxin said no one was injured in the incident in the disputed area on Tuesday, but that two procurement ships had to suspend a mission to deliver food to Philippine forces in Second Thomas Atoll, located in the western Philippine province of Palawan, which is internationally recognized as the exclusive economic zone of that country.

Loxin stated that the move of the Chinese ships was “illegal” and asked them to withdraw.

The Philippine government conveyed to China “anger, condemnation and protest over the incident.”

“This failed self-restraint threatens to jeopardize the special relations that the Philippines and China have, on which President Rodrigo Duterte and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have worked hard,” Loxin added.

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