Philippines asked for ‘clarification’ over an incident involving a Chinese coastguard forcibly seizing Chinese rocket debris in possession of Filipino navy staff
China’s Foreign Ministry in Beijing has denied the debris was seized forcibly
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines sent a note verbale to China seeking “clarification” on a recent incident where Chinese coast guard personnel “forcibly retrieved” floating debris from members of the Philippine Navy in the West Philippine Sea.
Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo announced the development in an interview with CNN Philippines on Thursday, November 24, saying that the Marcos administration wants to hear about the confrontation “from the side of China.”
The top diplomat did not discount the possibility of further action, including face-to-face meetings on the matter.
“We’ll have to take it step by step but depending on the reply, if we find the reply lacking or we need further clarification, we will continue the discussion perhaps through notes verbale or if necessary, through verbal face-to-face meetings,” Manalo said.
RELATED: Chinese embassy denies ‘forceful seizure’ of rocket part near Pag-asa Island
The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines on Monday denied using force to retrieve of a rocket part that landed in Philippine waters, insisting the handover took place after “friendly consultation”.
In a statement, the embassy said a China Coast Guard ship found an unidentified floating object in the waters off the Spratly Islands morning of Nov. 20.
The said object was later identified as a part of recently launched rocket by China.
“Before the China Coast Guard found the said floating object some Philippine Navy personnel already retrieved and towed it,” the embassy said, adding that it was able to retrieve the rocket part after a “friendly consultation” with the Philippine side.
“The Chinese side expressed gratitude to the Philippine side. There was no so-called blocking of the course of a Philippine Navy boat and forcefully retrieving the object at the scene,” it added.
By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter