Chinese vessel blocked Philippines medical evacuation, Philippines coast guard says: ‘barbaric and inhumane’

The Philippine coast guard on Friday, June 7, accused its Chinese counterpart of blocking efforts to evacuate a sick member of its armed forces in the South China Sea, calling its actions “barbaric and inhumane”.

The incident, which the Philippines said took place last month, involved a member of a small contingent of marines posted to guard the BRP Sierra Madre, a Philippine vessel grounded at the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, the site of repeated confrontations with China this past year.

Coast Guard spokesperson Jay Tarriela said in a statement that coast guard and navy boats were harassed by Chinese vessels performing “dangerous maneuvers”, despite having informed them the operation was of a medical nature.


China Coast Guard ships monitor the distribution of fuel and food to fishers by the civilian-led mission Atin Ito (This Is Ours) Coalition, in the disputed South China Sea on May 16, 2024.

A Philippine boat convoy bearing supplies for Filipino fishers said they ditched plans to sail to a Beijing-held reef off the Philippines after one of their boats was “constantly shadowed” by a Chinese vessel on May 16, 2024. The coast guard then accused its Chinese counterpart of interfering with the medical evacuation of a member of the Philippine coast guard on June 7, 2024. (Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images)

China’s embassy in the Philippines has acknowledged a request for comment, but did not immediately respond with a statement. Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than $3 trillion in annual ship commerce, and has deployed hundreds of coast guard vessels as far as 1,000 km off its mainland to police what it says is its jurisdiction.


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