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Philippines accuses China of “barbaric” blockade of medical evacuation

The Philippine Coast Guard on Friday accused its Chinese counterpart of blocking efforts to evacuate a sick member of its Armed Forces from the South China Sea, calling the actions “barbaric and inhumane.”

The incident, which the Philippines said occurred last month, involved a member of a small contingent of marines deployed to guard the BRP Sierra Madre, a Philippine ship stranded on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, the site of repeated clashes with China in the last year.

Coast Guard spokesman Jay Tarriela said Coast Guard and Navy boats were harassed by Chinese vessels, despite being told the operation was medical in nature.

“The barbaric and inhumane behavior exhibited by the China Coast Guard has no place in our society,” Tarriela said in a statement.

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday it will allow the Philippines to deliver supplies and withdraw personnel if Manila notifies Beijing in advance of a mission.

“However, the Philippines cannot use this as an excuse to transport construction materials to its naval vessels in an attempt to permanently occupy Ren’ai Jiao,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said.

China refers to Second Thomas Shoal as Ren’ai Jiao.

Philippine military chief Romeo Brawner said on Tuesday (4) that the first attempt to transport the sick soldier to the western province of Palawan failed after being blocked by the Chinese.

Another attempt was made the next day with the help of the Philippine Coast Guard and the soldier was successfully evacuated, Brawner said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a waterway for more than $3 trillion in annual shipping trade, and has sent hundreds of Coast Guard vessels as far as 1,000 km from its mainland to police what it says is its jurisdiction. .

Source: CNN Brasil

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