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BREAKING: China ‘seriously, thoroughly’ probing incident at Recto Bank – Panelo

/ 08:49 PM June 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese government is “seriously” and “thoroughly” looking into the reported incident between a Chinese fishing vessel and a Filipino boat in the West Philippine Sea.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua texted him Thursday afternoon and told him that the Chinese government has already launched an investigation into the incident in Recto Bank (Reed Bank).

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Early this week, a Chinese fishing vessel hit and sank an anchored Filipino boat at Recto Bank. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday condemned the “cowardly action” of the Chinese fishing vessel as it left behind the 22 Filipino fishermen after ramming their moored boat.

Recto Bank is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. It is also one of the areas considered for the Philippines’ joint exploration with China.

READ: China fishing vessel sinks Filipino boat after ‘collision’ in West Philippine Sea 

“The fishing boat issue is being thoroughly and seriously investigated,” read Zhao’s text message to Panelo. The Palace official forwarded the text message to INQUIRER.net. Thursday evening.

“We share your concerns about fishermen. If it were true that it was a Chinese fishing boat, they would be duly educated and punished for their irresponsible behavior. Incidents happen even in the best-regulated family. We hope this incident could be held in a proper context,” the Chinese envoy added.

In a Palace briefing Thursday, Panelo said the Philippine government will cut ties with China if the “collision” was proven intentional.

The incident prompted the Philippine government to file a diplomatic protest against China. (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)

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