Video shows Chinese coast guard brandishing an ax in a low-tech clash with the Philippines navy

  • The Philippines released video showing Chinese coast guard during a skirmish in the South China Sea.

  • It called Monday's incident, in which the Chinese brandished weapons, "a brazen act of aggression."

  • It's the latest in a series of Chinese provocations in the South China Sea.

The Philippine army has shared video that it says shows China Coast Guard personnel wielding an ax and other weapons at them during a tense encounter in the South China Sea on Monday.

Chinese coast guard also flung rocks, slashed boats with "bladed and pointed weapons," and blared sirens and strobe lights during the encounter, which damaged the boats, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.

The footage, shared to X on Wednesday, shows several boats crowded together with people on either side yelling at each other.

One figure — identified by the Armed Forces of the Philippines as a member of the China Coast Guard — can be seen brandishing an ax.

It also shared aerial footage of what it said was a Filipino boat "crammed in the middle" of two Chinese vessels.

Business Insider was not able to independently verify the footage.

The posts called the situation "a brutal assault" on China's part.

General Romeo Brawner, the Philippines' top military commander, criticized China for what he described as "reckless and aggressive" behavior. He accused the Chinese vessels of ramming Philippine boats, and said one Filipino soldier lost a thumb when his vessel was hit.

But China's foreign ministry spokesman Lin Jian described the actions as "professional, restrained, justified and lawful."

The Filipino armed forces said its troops had been engaged in a humanitarian resupply mission at the Ayungin Shoal, a contested atoll in the South China Sea some 120 miles from the Filipino Palawan Island.

China claims sovereignty over much of the South China Sea — including the resource-rich waters in which Monday's skirmish took place — despite a 2016 ruling by the Hague not recognizing those claims.

The clash took place a few days after China enacted a new law allowing its Coast Guard to seize foreign ships suspected of trespassing, CNN reported.

Beijing takes particular exception to the object of the Filipino mission, which was to resupply the BRP Sierra Madre, a ship that the Philippines deliberately grounded in 1999 in order to cement its claims over the waters.

The Philippines and its allies condemned Monday's incident, which is the latest in a series of Chinese provocations in the South China Sea.

The Philippines' Fisheries Bureau in February accused China of trying to destroy Scarborough Shoal, a fish-rich atoll off the Manila coast, by pumping cyanide into the waters.

In April, Chinese Coast Guard ships battered a Filipino vessel, this time off Manila's coast, with water cannon, in a move that Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Commodore Jay Tarriela called "harassment."

The incidents have taken place against the backdrop of strengthening US-Filipino relations, which has seen an uptick in military cooperation between Manila and Washington in recent months.

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