DTI chief: Recto Bank incident won’t disturb China trade ties
MANILA, Philippines – The ramming by a Chinese vessel of a Filipino-manned fishing boat in Recto (Reed) Bank in the West Philippine Sea will not affect the trade relations between the Philippines and China, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Monday.
“I don’t think that incident will be affecting the commercial transactions and the momentum that we have when it comes to trade and investments,” Lopez told reporters at the sidelines of the Pre-Sona Economic and Infrastructure forum in Pasay City.
On June 9, 2019, 22 Filipino fishermen were left adrift in open sea after their boat was hit by a Chinese vessel while anchored in the waters off Recto Bank.
Crewmen of a passing Vietnamese vessel rescued the Filipinos.
Recto Bank is within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone, which guarantees the country’s exclusive rights to the natural resources in the area.
The incident prompted the Philippine government to file a diplomatic protest against China.
For Lopez, however, the incident involved “private parties” and will not adversely affect Philippines – China relations.
Lopez noted that there are more investment deals in the pipeline between the two countries.
“It’s not yet complete. We are just talking of midterm investments here (and) there are other investments in the pipeline. It will continue, the good relationship, (and) the good trading and investment relationship between the two countries,” he said.
President Duterte has sought closer ties with Asia’s largest economy despite the ongoing maritime dispute between Manila and Beijing. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)
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