MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines will continue with resupply missions to troops on an atoll in a disputed part of the South China Sea despite Chinese coast guard vessels deliberately disrupting a mission last week, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro said on Monday.

“It was not a misunderstanding or an accident,” Teodoro told a press conference at the presidential palace.

“We are not downplaying the incident. It was an aggressive and illegal use of force.”

A Philippine sailor suffered serious injury after what its military described as “intentional-high speed ramming” by the Chinese Coast Guard, aiming to disrupt a resupply mission for troops stationed on the Second Thomas Shoal on June 17.

China’s foreign ministry has disputed the Philippines’ statements, with a spokesperson saying last Thursday that the necessary measures taken by the coast guard were lawful, professional and beyond reproach.

President Ferdinand Marcos said on Sunday that the Philippines was not in the business of instigating wars and would always aim to settle disputes peacefully.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Karen Lema; Editing by Ed Davies and John Mair)

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