Five countries and the entire European Union (EU) condemned China Coast Guard ships’ blockade and water cannon attack on Philippine resupply boats at the Ayungin Shoal.

Apart from EU and the US, which denounced the Chinese action as “dangerous, provocative, and unjustified” and warned that an armed attack on Philippine vessels would invoke US mutual defense commitments, the other countries that condemned China were Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and Australia. 

French Ambassador to the Philippines Michele Boccoz and German Ambassador Anke called on China to refrain from such “conduct that endangers stability in the Indo-Pacific Region.”  Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko and Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson conveyed their countries’ disgust at China’s actions. 

Canada’s Peter MacArthur said his country stands by United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 South China Sea Arbitration decision, which affirmed Manila’s claims over parts of South China Sea. The ruling by the international tribunal also invalidated China’s sweeping claims over nearly the entire sea.

EU expressed “strong opposition” to China’s blocking of and using water cannons on two Philippine vessels on a resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal.

“The European Union reiterates its strong opposition to any unilateral actions that endanger peace, security and stability in the region and the international rules-based order,” EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Nabila Massrali said.

Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin, Jr. said the DFA already expressed “outrage, condemnation and protest” to China over the attack against two Philippine supply ships last November 16.

Earlier, the Philippine military said some Chinese vessels pulled out from the shoal following protests from United States and other countries.

After what is now considered an international incident, Sen. Panfilo Lacson and his team were warned by the Chinese Navy while their plane was flying to Pag-asa Island. 

In a video, Lacson and his team, who were on board a private Pilatus PC-12 aircraft from Puerto Princesa City, received a warning on their way to Pag-asa Island.

“Authorities from the Chinese Navy radioed with the following message: “You are approaching our military zone. Please stay away from the area and leave immediately. Your actions are unfriendly and dangerous. Your actions are dangerous.”

Lacson admitted that he found the warning unusual, adding that he received a “Welcome to China” message on his mobile phone as soon as they landed in Pag-asa Island.

However, the government will not abandon its military outpost at the Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. In a virtual news briefing, acting Palace spokesman and Cabinet Sec. Karlo Alexei Nograles said the government will continue to defend the Philippines’ sovereignty and territory.

“We will continue to assert our sovereignty and sovereign rights, our jurisdiction over Ayungin Shoal and all other territories within our jurisdiction including our EEZ (exclusive economic zone),” Nograles added.

“We stand by the swift actions of the Department of Foreign Affairs and we’re confident that the DFA will do whatever is necessary,” he said.

According to Locsin, the Philippine boats were on their way to transport food to Philippine military personnel in Ayungin Shoal when they were “blocked and water-cannoned” by the Chinese vessels.

“China has no law enforcement rights in and around these areas. They must take heed and back off,” he said.

“The Philippines will continue to provide supplies to our troops in Ayungin Shoal. We do not ask permission to do what we need to do in our territory,” Locsin added.

When asked if it is an option for the government to abandon its detachment in Ayungin Shoal to avoid confrontation with China, Nograles said, “Walang abandonment na mangyayari d’yan.”