Published: Fri, June 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Philippines denounces Chinese fishing boat for collision

Philippines denounces Chinese fishing boat for collision

"Regardless of the nature of the collision, whether it was accidental or intentional, common decency and the dictates of humanity require the immediate saving of the crew of the downed Philippine vessel", he said in a statement where the Palace also thanked the Vietnamese seamen for coming to the Filipinos' aid.

China's coast guard and military tried to block such resupply missions in the past but later allowed them through after talks with Philippine officials amid better relations between Beijing and Manila under current President Rodrigo Duterte. PXP is headed for a third day of declines on June 13.

Defence Secretary Teodoro Locsin Junior went further describing the actions as "contemptible and condemnable" before adding the incident would be "the basis of enhanced military cooperation between The Philippines and Vietnam".

Outgoing Senator Antonio Trillanes IV urged the government to report the incident to the International Maritime Organization, an agency under the United Nations, which could conduct an independent probe.

Meanwhile, China rejects the arbitral ruling and continues to claim virtually the entire South China Sea.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is calling for a formal investigation to confirm that the Chinese ship abandoned those it sank into the sea and to find conclusive evidence of the Chinese ship's intentions.

Lorenzana expressed gratitude for the quick actions taken by the Vietnamese vessel in responding to the distress calls of the Filipino fishermen who were floating in the rough waters of Recto Bank.

Panelo said there was no need to summon Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, even as incident had left Duterte "outraged".

In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the incident "should be condemned" wherever the vessel came from.

China, which claims almost all of the South China Sea, has been accused of using thousands of fishing boats as a militia and de facto extension of its foreign policy.

The Philippine coast guard said it was checking whether those involved were Chinese fishermen or from other neighboring countries such as Vietnam and if the collision was intentional.

A regional military spokesman, Lt. Col. Stephen Penetrante, said the incident at Reed Bank, which happened at night, appeared "like a hit and run", with the vessel immediately moving away after hitting the Filipino boat in violation of global regulations that require ships to rescue people facing danger at sea. "This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people", he added.

An worldwide arbitration panel in 2016 ruled the Philippines had sovereign rights to exploit the resources at Reed Bank.

China has long demanded that the Philippines remove the rusting navy ship which Filipino marines use as an outpost, but the Philippines has refused. He has condemned Beijing for an incident in which a Chinese ship reportedly collided with a Filipino fishing boat. Last week, a Chinese military ship was spotted near Scarborough Shoal in the western frontier off the disputed WPS.

Reed Bank is about 150km (93 miles) off the Philippine island of Palawan.

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