The US spoke out about the Philippine ship being sprayed with water cannons in the East Sea 0The US spoke out about the Philippine ship being sprayed with water cannons in the East Sea 0

(Dan Tri) – The US Secretary of Defense said that the water cannon incident that caused damage to the Philippine ship in the East Sea was an act of `disregard for international law`.

A Chinese coast guard ship fired a water cannon at a Philippine ship near Scarborough Shoal on April 30 (Photo: EPA).

`We have made it very clear to all parties, including Beijing, that the type of behavior that we have seen, puts Philippine crews in danger…sailors were injured and property was damaged.`

Mr. Austin reiterated that the United States will continue to support the Philippines as stated in the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.

`Our commitment to the treaty is firm and we stand with the Philippines,` Austin said after meeting with defense partners of the Philippines, Australia and Japan.

Appearing with the US Secretary of Defense, Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro said the two sides are committed to building capacity and deterrence to ensure that no situation occurs that requires the treaty to be activated.

`We need to assert our rights but in a way that protects the safety of every member of the Philippine armed forces,` Mr. Teodoro emphasized.

Teodoro declined to speculate on the conditions under which Manila might invoke the joint treaty with the US, saying it would be a `political decision`.

Previously, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs announced on May 2 that Mr. Zhou Zhiyong, the number two official of the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines, was summoned to protest the acts of `harassment, stabbing, siege,

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said `China’s aggressive actions, especially the use of water cannons, caused damage` to Philippine ships, and asked the Chinese ships to immediately leave the beach.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that a coast guard ship and another Philippine government ship were damaged in an incident on April 30 near Scarborough Shoal in the East Sea.

The Philippines said the water pressure in the water cannon incident on April 30 was much stronger than any previous incident, causing damage to metal parts and equipment on the Philippine ship.

Meanwhile, the Chinese coast guard said they had `expelled` two Philippine ships from the waters near Scarborough Shoal (called Huangyan in China).

Scarborough is a shoal located 230km from the Philippine island of Luzon and about 1,000km from the southeast coast of China.

Since then, China has regularly prevented Filipino fishermen from approaching the abundant fishing grounds to fish, even using water cannons to chase them away.

Scarborough Shoal is part of a lawsuit initiated by the Philippines at the international permanent arbitration court in The Hague (Netherlands) against China’s illegal `cow tongue line` claim in the East Sea.

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