‘Close to-crash attributable to Philippine patrol vessel’

Beijing said on Friday that a near-collision in the South China Sea between a Chinese coast guard ship and Philippine patrol vessel carrying journalists was caused by the latter's "premeditated and provocative action".

The incident happened after Philippine coast guard boats approached Ren'ai Jiao.

Asked about the incident on Friday at a regular press briefing, the Foreign Ministry said the Philippine boats had "intruded" without China's permission.

"The Chinese coast guard vessel safeguarded China's territorial sovereignty and maritime order, in accordance with the law, while taking timely measures to avoid the dangerous approach of Philippine vessels and to avoid a collision," said spokeswoman Mao Ning.

"It was a premeditated and provocative action for the Philippine vessel to barge into the waters of Ren'ai Jiao with journalists on board, the aim was to deliberately find fault and take the opportunity to hype up the incident," she added.

The Philippine captain said the Chinese ship came within 45 metres of his boat and only his quick actions avoided the vessels crashing into each other. (AFP)

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