DND stands firm: Chinese coast guard rudely taken away rocket debris
MANILA, Philippines — Defense officer-in-charge Jose Faustino Jr. said the debris being towed by the country’s vessel was “rudely taken” away by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) personnel.
“We stand by the accounts of our personnel in the area that, contrary to the narrative of the Chinese side, the debris being towed by a Philippine vessel to Naval Station Emilio Liwanag for inspection was rudely taken by personnel from [CCG vessel 5203],” Faustino said in a statement on Tuesday.
Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos, chief of the military’s Western Command, has said that the Philippine Navy was towing suspected rocket debris in Pag-asa Island when a Chinese Coast Guard ship appeared and blocked the boat, then “forcefully retrieved” the debris.
According to Carlos, the CCG vessel sent an inflatable boat with some personnel on board to the floating object and cut the towing line attached to the Navy’s boat.
The Chinese embassy disputed the account of the Philippine military, saying their Coast Guard did not block the course of a Philippine Navy boat and then forcefully retrieve the object at the scene. They said a “friendly consultation” ensued, and then the Philippine side returned the floating object to the Chinese side on the spot.
Pag-asa Island’s residents also heard a series of blasts a few hours after the confrontation. Faustino said an investigation on the incident is now underway, but he did not further elaborate.
“The situation is still developing; thus, we cannot provide additional details at this time,” he pointed out.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.