Chinese research ship sought 'refuge, never intruded,' Locsin tells senators | Global News
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Chinese research ship sought ‘refuge, never intruded,’ Locsin tells senators

/ 09:30 PM February 04, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese research vessel that was earlier allowed to “seek shelter” in Philippine waters “never intruded,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. told a Senate panel on Thursday.

Emerging from an executive session of the Senate foreign relations committee, Locsin tweeted that the issue regarding Chinese research ship Jia Geng has been “cleared up.”

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“Chinese vessel never intruded; enter our territory seeking refuge even as China asked permission,” he said.

“Coast Guard never attempted to board because it is illegal to try; Chinese vessel left right after storm passed. No intrusion. Period,” he added.

Earlier, Locsin said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), for “humanitarian reasons,” allowed the Chinese ship to take shelter off Catanduanes due to “bad weather” following an emergency request from the Chinese Embassy in Manila.

In a timeline posted by the foreign affairs chief on Twitter last Tuesday (Feb. 2), he said the Philippine Embassy in Beijing relayed a phoned-in request to allow the Chinese marine research vessel to take shelter in Cabugao Bay.

Around this time, Jia Geng was already approaching the vicinity of Bato, Catanduanes, based on open-source ship trackers and a military report seen by INQUIRER.net.

According to Locsin’s Tuesday tweet, the ship was already inside the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on Jan. 27 and it “gave verbal notice of refuge” the next day. On Jan. 29, the Chinese Embassy in Manila sends its official note to the DFA asking for clearance to allow the ship to take shelter.

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The DFA gave its go-signal on Jan. 31, or at least four days after the Chinese ship entered Philippine territory.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila, commenting on reports about the ship’s “intrusion,” said “the fact is that the Chinese scientific survey ship is seeking humanitarian shelter in Philippine waters due to unfavorable weather and sea conditions in the Pacific where they are scheduled to conduct a research mission.”

There was no weather disturbance around the area at that time, according to some local maritime authorities and weather reports.

The Chinese ship left Catanduanes on Monday (Feb. 1) morning, escorted by a PCG Islander plane. With reports from Frances Mangosing

JPV

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TAGS: Chinese vessel Jia Geng, Features, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Global Nation, Senate, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
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