Marcos Jr.: PH to send note verbale to China after Pag-asa island incident
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said the Philippine government would send a note verbale to China following the incident near Pag-asa Island where a China Coast Guard ship seized rocket debris from the Philippine Navy.
Marcos said the issue must be resolved, considering China and the Philippine Navy have different accounts of the incident.
“Yes, I think that that’s what we need to do because the… when it was first reported to me by the Chief of Staff, I asked him to immediately call his… the Philippine… the military attaché in the Chinese embassy and to get a report,” he told reporters in an interview.
“Hindi nagtugma ‘yung report ng Philippine Navy at saka ‘yung report na galing sa China because the word ‘forcibly’ was used in the Navy, in the Philippine Navy report. And that was not the characterization in the Chinese navy report or the report coming from China. So we have to resolve this issue,” he added.
(The report of the Philippine Navy and that from China does not match because the Philippine Navy used the word “forcibly” in its report, and that was not the characterization in the report from China. So we have to resolve this issue.)
The President said he has “complete trust” in the Philippine Navy and believes what they say, adding that the Chinese must be asked why their account is “so different and much more benign.”
“We’ll have to find a way to resolve this. This is one of the things, this kind of incidents are some of the things that I’m glad that I’m going to Beijing in early January because these are the things that we need to work out because with the way that the region, our region, Asia-Pacific is heating up, baka may magkamali lang, may mistake, may misunderstanding then lalaki ‘yung sunog,” he said.
(Someone may just make a mistake, and there will be a misunderstanding which will become bigger.)
“We don’t want that to happen. So we want to have a mechanism na we have to find a way na hindi na mangyari ‘yun, na wala tayong mga incident na ganyan,” he said.
(We have to find a way that will not happen again.)
The face-off between the Philippine Navy and a vessel of the Chinese coast guard happened on Sunday morning, several hours before US Vice President Kamala Harris’ arrival in Manila for a three-day visit.
According to the military, the Philippine Navy was towing suspected rocket debris to Philippine-held Pag-asa (Thitu) Island, some 480 kilometers northwest of Palawan province, when a China Coast Guard ship appeared and blocked the boat, then “forcefully retrieved” the debris.
National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos has recommended to the President the sending of a note verbale in light of the incident.
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