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    US and Philippines Condemn the Chinese Coast Guard’s Water Cannon Blasts on Fisheries Vessels

    US and Philippines Condemn the Chinese Coast Guard's Water Cannon Blasts on Fisheries Vessels

    , Philippines (AP) — The Philippines and its treaty ally, the United States, separately condemned a high-seas assault Saturday by the Chinese coast guard together with suspected militia ships that repeatedly blasted water cannons to block three Philippine fisheries vessels from a disputed shoal in the South Sea.

    The noontime assault by Chinese ships off the Scarborough Shoal, one of the most aggressive this year, caused “significant damage” to the communication and navigation equipment of one of the three Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources ships, Filipino officials said.

    They said without elaborating that suspected militia vessels accompanying Chinese coast guard ships used a long-range acoustic device that could impair hearing, causing “severe temporary discomfort and incapacitation to some Filipino crew.”

    It's the latest flare-up of the long-seething territorial disputes in the South China Sea, a flashpoint in that has put the U.S. and China on a collision course. China claims virtually the entire strategic waterway, but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and have also pressed their separate claims.

    Territorial standoffs between China and the Philippines over a number of disputed offshore areas, including the Scarborough and the Second Thomas shoals, have been particularly heated this year. The U.S. has warned that it's obligated to defend the Philippines, its…

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