*** ----> Chinese sailors wield sticks, axe in disputed sea clash with Philippines | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Chinese sailors wield sticks, axe in disputed sea clash with Philippines

AFP | Manila

The Daily Tribune - www.newsofbahrain.com

Chinese coast guard sailors brandishing weapons including sticks, knives and an axe clashed with Philippine naval vessels near a strategic reef in the South China Sea, dramatic new footage released by Manila showed.

The clash took place Monday as Philippine forces attempted to resupply marines stationed on a derelict warship deliberately grounded atop the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, Manila said. Fresh footage of the confrontation released late Wednesday by the Philippine military showed small boats crewed by Chinese sailors shouting, waving knives, and using sticks to hit an inflatable boat as a siren blares.

The Philippines military said the axe-wielding sailor had “threatened to injure” a Filipino soldier, while others were “explicitly threatening to harm” Filipino troops. A Filipino sailor lost a thumb in the incident, which saw the Chinese coast guard confiscate or destroy Philippine equipment including guns, according to the Philippine military.

Manila’s footage of the clash stands in stark contrast to photos released by Beijing’s state media on Wednesday, which did not show Chinese forces wielding weapons. Beijing has insisted that its coast guard behaved in a “professional and restrained” way during the confrontation and claimed “no direct measures” were taken against Filipino personnel.

But in a clip shared by Manila, a Chinese sailor standing on the deck of one of the boats can be clearly seen waving an axe.