This photo taken on April 23 by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) shows CCG vessel 5201's dangerous maneuvering and shadowing starboard beam going to 100 yards ahead of BRP Malapascua (MRRV 4403) in the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal.

China has sought to turn the tables on the Philippines over the recent near-collision incident between a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) patrol and its own forces near Ayungin Shoal on April 23.

In a press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning accused the country of intruding into their territory and deliberately making provocations in full view of journalists they had brought aboard the Philippine Coast Guard vessels.

“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 said.

Mao claimed that their vessel only maneuvered to avoid the “dangerous approach” of the PCG.

“The Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) 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,” she added.

The PCG had claimed that a CCG boat aggressively came within 50 yards of BRP Malapascua.

In February, a Chinese vessel fired a military-grade laser beam on a BRP Malapascua in the West Philippine Sea, temporarily blinding its crew.

The Philippine government has denounced China’s behavior in the area and asserted that it is part of the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

China has been claiming the entirety of the South China Sea as part of its territory despite the decision made by the International Tribunal in the The Hague in favor of the Philippines.