China deployed lasers to the Philippine Coast Guard USA Responds.jpgw1440

China deployed lasers to the Philippine Coast Guard; USA Responds

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China’s use of a laser aimed at a Philippine Coast Guard ship in the South China Sea drew a sharp response from the United States on Monday. The action, which the Philippines said temporarily blinded the crew, was “provocative and unsafe,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

The Philippines previously said that on February 6, a Chinese Coast Guard vessel aimed a “military” green laser twice at its Coast Guard vessel and made “dangerous manoeuvres” by approaching to within 150 meters of the boat’s right aft end.

The incident came days after the Philippines agreed to allow US forces access to four new military installations. The tense encounter took place in disputed waters called Ayungin Shoal in the Philippines and Ren’ai Reef in China.

A video shared by Philippine news media shows a ship emitting green lasers late at night.

The Philippine Coast Guard said in a statement Monday the “willful blockade” of their ship was a “blatant disregard and clear violation of Philippine sovereign rights in this part of the western Philippine Sea.”

Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said in a news conference on Monday that the ship “entered the waters off Ren’ai Reef without Chinese permission” and that the Philippines “should avoid any measures that aggravate the dispute.” and could aggravate the situation.”

China and the Philippines are communicating through diplomatic channels on the matter, he added.