China Allegedly Used Laser Against Coast Guard, The Philippines Say

[Screenshot/YouTube/South China Morning Post]

Font Size:

A Chinese vessel allegedly used a military-grade laser against a Philippine coast guard vessel in the South China Sea in what officials said Monday is a “blatant” violation of Manila’s rights and sovereignty.

The incident occurred as the Philippine patrol vessel BRP Malapascua was attempting to deliver food and supplies to Second Thomas Shoal, a submerged reef occupied by Philippine forces, on Feb. 6, the Philippine coast guard said in a statement to The Associated Press (AP).

As the Philippine vessel approached the reef, it encountered a Chinese patrol vessel that reportedly blocked its path and then used a military-grade laser to temporarily blind the crew of the BRP Malapascua.

“The Chinese ship illuminated the green laser light twice toward the BRP Malapascua, causing temporary blindness to her crew at the bridge,” a statement from the Philippine Coast Guard said, according to The AP.

Video of the alleged incident released by coast guard officials in Manila appears to corroborate the allegation, showing a Chinese vessel moving across the path of a Philippine vessel from a distance with a green light appearing to be emitted by the Chinese ship afterwards, the outlet reported.

“The deliberate blocking of the Philippine government ships to deliver food and supplies to our military personnel on board the BRP Sierra Madre is a blatant disregard for, and a clear violation of, Philippine sovereign rights in this part of the West Philippine Sea,” the Philippine Coast Guard said, according to The AP.

Beijing, which claims the entirety of the South China Sea, alleged that the Philippine vessel had crossed into their territory without permission and that the Chinese coast guard responded “in accordance with China’s law and international law,” according to The AP. (RELATED: Chinese Fighter Jet Intercepts, Releases Metal Shards Into Aircraft Piloted By US Allies)

“We hope the Philippines will earnestly respect China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea and avoid any actions that may lead to the expansion of the dispute and complication of the situation,”Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, according to the outlet, adding that China and the Philippines are working through the issue diplomatically.