The Philippine Coast Guard said Thursday that it foiled an attempt by a Chinese fishing boat to get near Scarborough Shoal, a disputed territory in the South China Sea.
But a Chinese coast guard ship responded by reportedly spraying water canons on the Philippine vessel.
The Coast Guard said the fishing boat attempted to get close to the shoal using a rubber raft.
“We prevented them from crossing into the shoal,” said Coast Guard spokesman Armand Balilo. “At one point, the Chinese coast guard ship fired water cannons.”
The Philippine Coast Guard and fishermen have been violating the Scarborough Shoal’s territorial waters for years without face any consequences.
Balilo said that the patrol was conducted as part of President Benigno Aquino III’s ongoing territorial dispute with Beijing.
China and the Philippines have overlapping claims in the South China Sea, which encompasses some of the world’s busiest sea lanes and is believed to sit atop vast deposits of oil and natural gas.
Earlier this year, a Chinese coast guard vessel attempted to cut the rope that held back Philippine fishermen from fishing near Scarborough. In May, the Chinese coast guard threatened to move on a Philippine fishing boat it said was unlawfully fishing in its waters.