Manila: The Philippines lodged a strong protest against China on Tuesday over allegations by Filipino fishermen that the Chinese coastguard had attacked them with water cannon near a disputed shoal.
The foreign department summoned the Chinese charge d’affaires to receive the formal protest over the January 27 incident at the Scarborough Shoal, said department spokesman Raul Hernandez.
“The department … strongly protest(s) the efforts of China to prohibit Filipino fishermen from undertaking fishing activities in the Philippines’ Bajo de Masinloc,” Hernandez said, referring to the South China Sea shoal by its Filipino name.
“Bajo de Masinloc is an integral part of the Philippines and over which the Philippines exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction.”
The rocky outcrop, considered a traditional fishing ground by Filipinos, lies just 220 kilometres (135 miles) off the main Philippine island of Luzon.
Hernandez said one of three Chinese coastguard vessels in the area fired water cannon at two Filipino fishing vessels which were about 30-40 yards from the shoal, causing no injuries but forcing the Filipino vessels to leave the area.
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