Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 8) — The Philippines successfully conducted a new resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin Shoal on Friday, but not without another attempt by China to block the trip, the government said.
The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) reported that the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Command, assisted by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), completed the operations in the morning, over two weeks since the previous resupply mission on Aug. 22.
According to the NTF-WPS, the CCG and Chinese maritime militia (CMM) ships continued to harass the Philippine vessels on Friday, conducting “dangerous maneuvers” and exhibiting “aggressive conduct,” even as the trip was within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“The Task Force strongly deplores and condemns the continued illegal, aggressive, and destabilizing conduct of the CCG and the CMM within our nation’s EEZ,” the NTF-WPS wrote in a statement.
China, meanwhile, insisted on its claims to Ayungin, which it refers to as Ren’ai Reef.
In a statement, the CCG said two replenishment ships and two coast guard vessels of the Philippines “entered the adjacent waters of Ren’ai Reef in China’s Nansha Islands without the permission of the Chinese government.”
Beijing again accused Manila of “illegally” transporting construction materials to the BRP Sierra Madre, which is a navy ship the latter intentionally grounded on the shoal to enforce its claim.