China has no right to damage PH assets within EEZ: AFP chief

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Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Romeo Brawner Jr. scored China for its latest act of “reckless and aggressive” harassment that targeted a rotation and resupply (RORE) mission for Filipino troops manning the BRP Sierra Madre (LS-57) in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) last June 17.

In a statement Tuesday evening, Brawner said the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) has “no right or legal authority to interfere with our legitimate operations or damage our assets within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).”

“This reckless and aggressive behavior has caused bodily harm and constitutes a blatant violation of international maritime law, Philippine sovereignty, and sovereign rights,” he said.

Earlier, the AFP said the intentional ramming by the CCG on the Philippine ship involved in the RORE mission severely injured one Navy personnel.

However, the military did not give more specific details on the injuries and damage caused to the vessel.

“The AFP strongly denounces these actions, which not only infringe upon our maritime rights but also pose significant risks to regional stability,” Brawner said.

Earlier reports, citing unnamed sources, said that at least eight Navy personnel were hurt, with one losing a finger, when Chinese maritime forces boarded and punctured their rigid-hulled inflatable boats, damaging the craft, aside from confiscating several items onboard.

The AFP has yet to comment and confirm this allegation as of posting.

Department of National Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. earlier said China’s dangerous and reckless behavior in the WPS “shall be resisted by the AFP.” (PNA) 

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