MANILA, Philippines–The Philippine military chief says Filipino fishermen have reported that a Chinese coast guard vessel used a water cannon to drive them away from a disputed shoal.
Gen. Emmanuel Bautista said Monday that the military is investigating the Jan. 27 incident at Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing ground off the northwestern Philippines. The shoal came under China’s effective control after a standoff between Chinese and Philippine ships in the disputed area in 2012.
Bautista says Philippine military forces adhere to a no-confrontation policy in the disputed areas but “will react to the best of our ability” if “armed violence is used against our people.”
China, the Philippines and four other governments have been disputing ownership of resource-rich South China Sea territories for years, periodically reigniting tensions.