*** ----> Philippines accuses Chinese boats of ‘dangerous’ actions in high seas medivac | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Philippines accuses Chinese boats of ‘dangerous’ actions in high seas medivac

AFP | Manila

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

As two Philippine vessels meet on the high seas to transfer a sick Filipino soldier, China Coast Guard boats shadow, block and bump them, according to video released by the Philippine Coast Guard yesterday.

The incident happened last month during the medical evacuation of a soldier who was stationed on a grounded Philippine Navy vessel on Second Thomas Shoal in the disputed South China Sea.

The Philippine Coast Guard said they had deployed a boat on May 19 to retrieve the soldier from a Philippine Navy speedboat, and had informed the China Coast Guard of the “humanitarian nature” of their mission.

In a series of videos released by the Philippine Coast Guard, a Chinese-flagged inflatable speedboat is seen bumping into the two stationary Philippine vessels as they prepare to transfer the patient.

Other boats -- identified by the Philippines as belonging to the China Coast Guard -- are also seen shadowing and blocking the path of the Philippine Coast Guard boat.

The Chinese boats “engaged in dangerous manoeuvres” and “intentionally rammed” the Philippine Navy vessel, Philippine Coast Guard spokesman for the West Philippine Sea Jay Tarriela said in a statement.

“The barbaric and inhumane behaviour displayed by the China Coast Guard has no place in our society,” Tarriela said. “What should have been a simple medical evacuation operation was subjected to harassment,” he said. “

Their actions clearly demonstrated their intention to prevent the sick personnel from receiving the proper medical attention he urgently needed.”

In response to the accusation, China’s foreign ministry said it could “allow” the Philippines to deliver “necessary supplies” and evacuate personnel from the Sierra Madre if Beijing were notified in advance.