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Philippines asks China to explain 'water cannon' incident

Published on Feb 25, 2014 12:22 PM

MANILA (AFP) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino demanded an explanation from China on Tuesday over a report its coast guard had fired water cannon at Filipino fishermen at a disputed shoal.

Aquino said the foreign department had been asked to file a "diplomatic message", a day after the Philippines' military chief told reporters of the incident at Scarborough Shoal - the subject of a bitter territorial row in the South China Sea.

"The first step would be a diplomatic message... directed at the People's Republic of China to ask them to explain what this incident was all about, what their intentions are," Aquino told reporters, when asked whether a formal protest would be lodged.

Scarborough Shoal is a rocky outcrop, considered a traditional fishing ground by Filipinos, which lies just 220km off the main Philippine island of Luzon. It is about 650km from Hainan island, the nearest major Chinese land mass.

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