TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A diplomatic dispute is brewing between China and the Philippines after a Chinese fishing vessel allegedly attacked a Philippine fishing boat (FB Gimver 1) last week (June 9) and then abandoned the endangered crew aboard the sinking ship.
Fortunately, the 22 fishermen were rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel that responded to their distress signal in time. According to local media, a steel hulled Chinese vessel purposefully rammed a wooden Philippine fishing boat on June 9 in the vicinity of the Reed Bank of the South China Sea, which resulted in the sinking of the Philippine vessel.
The Philippine government has demanded that a probe be conducted into the incident. “We denounce the actions of the Chinese fishing vessel for immediately leaving the incident scene abandoning the 22 Filipino crewmen to the mercy of the elements,” said Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, when the government announced the incident to the public.
The news stirred anger among the public, with protestors gathering outside the Chinese Consulate in Manila, demanding China leave the Philippine’s territorial waters, reports Associated Press.
The Western Command Spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Penetrante, stated that the AFP had determined that incident in the South China Sea was “far from accidental,” reports Rappler.
The AFP’s report suggests that the Chinese vessel intentionally attacked the Philippine vessel, and raises questions about their motive, and whether or not they may have been acting on orders.
The AFP report states that the Philippine ship was anchored at the time, and because the Chinese vessel did not stop to assist the sailors, an accidental collision has been ruled out, suggesting a purposeful attack on the Filipino fishermen.
China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Geng Shuang, commented on the incident on Thursday (June 14) claiming that it was just an “ordinary maritime traffic accident” but added that the actions of the perpetrators should be condemned for fleeing the scene.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has called for a full investigation reports Philstar Global. He also remarked that the acts of the Chinese vessel are “not expected action from a responsible and friendly people.”
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