Philippines accuses China of blocking medical evacuation

The Philippines says Chinese coast guard boats tried to block the evacuation of a sick serviceman from his post in the South China Sea.

Philippine officials say the incident took place on May 19. They called China's actions "barbaric and inhumane."

Video footage released by the Philippine Coast Guard shows its boats being harassed by two Chinese boats.

Officials say the Chinese disrupted the transfer of a sick soldier stationed at a military outpost on the Second Thomas Shoal to the island of Palawan. They say one Chinese boat collided with a Philippine one.

The soldier was eventually taken to Palawan later in the day.

Philippine Coast Guard Spokesperson Jay Tarriela said the incident showed "how inhumane and unprofessional the Chinese Coast Guard is, despite the fact that they knew we were there for a humanitarian mission."

Beijing rejected this account, saying Manila did not issue a notice in advance.

The Philippine military also says food supplies dropped by air for personnel on the shoal the same day as the incident were seized by the Chinese.

This comes as Beijing has been stepping up its confrontational stance in the contested waters.