China dismisses PH ‘water cannon’ protest, insists on South China Sea rule

(UPDATED – 7:11 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines – China on Tuesday rejected the Philippine diplomatic protest over the water hosing of Filipino fishermen in Bajo de Masinloc last January 27.

“The Chinese side does not accept the so-called ‘protest’ by the Philippine side,” said the Chinese embassy in a statement emailed to media outfits.

This, even as it urged “the Philippine side to work with the Chinese side to resolve differences through bilateral consultations and negotiations.”

The Chinese embassy in Manila insisted that “China has indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea Islands and their adjacent waters, Huangyan Island included.”

Huangyan is the name China gives Baja de Masinloc, which is also known as Scarborough Shoal and Panatag Shoal.

“Chinese government vessels are conducting regular patrols within China’s jurisdiction,” the statement read.
Earlier in the day, President Benigno Aquino III said the Philippines would seek an explanation from China for the reported use of water cannons by its coast guard to drive away Filipino fishermen from the disputed shoal.

“We will, through a diplomatic message that may take many forms, ask them (China) to explain what this incident is all about,” said Aquino, who was in Cebu to attend the 28th anniversary of the 1986 People Power uprising.

“I am not sure if (firing water cannons) is their SOP (standard operating procedure) kasi yesterday may (because yesterday there were) Filipino fishermen inside the shoal,” Aquino said. “But it is still proper for us to ask them what the incident is all about.”

“I am sure the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) is already preparing a formal protest,” he added.

The January 27 water cannon incident was first disclosed Monday by Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista before a forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.

“The Chinese coast guard tried to drive away Filipino fishing vessels to the extent of using water cannon,” Bautista told the forum.