Chinese coast guard blocked medical evacuation, Philippines 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.

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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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