President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., has expressed concern over China’s outright denial of Palawan authorities’ narrative report on a recent incident off Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea involving the Chinese Coast Guard’s retrieval of a space debris.
The president was responding to a Monday statement from the Chinese Embassy that denied earlier reports from the Philippine National Police and the Western Command that the Chinese Coast Guard “forcibly” took debris from a Philippine tug boat while it was being towed to an island by cutting the towing cable.
“Hindi nagtugma yung report ng Philippine Navy at saka yung report na galing sa China, because the word ‘forcibly’ was used in the Philippine Navy report, and that was not the characterization in the report coming from China,” President Marcos stated during an address at the 49th founding anniversary of the Career Executive Service Board at Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay, Manila.
“I have complete trust in our navy. And if this is what they say happened, I can only believe that that is what happened,” he added.
Marcos said he will find a way to resolve the matter with Chinese authorities when he travels to Beijing early January next year.
“These are things that we need to work out. Because with the way that the region is heating up, baka may magkamali lang, may mistake, may misunderstanding, then lalaki yung sunog. We don’t want that to happen. We want to have a mechanism na we have to find a way na hindi na mangyayari yun, na wala tayong mga incident na ganyan,” he said.
On Sunday, local authorities said they retrieved a suspected rocked debris floating near Pag-Asa and had a Coast Guard rubber boat tie it a cable to tow towards the island for inspection. Their report stated that a Chinese Coast Guard vessel with the markings CCG 5203 twice cut through the path of the tug boat and later deployed a smaller craft that cut the cable attached to the debris to take possession of it.
The Chinese Embassy, it its statement, claimed that its Coast Guard personnel had a “friendly” interaction with the Philippine tow boat before taking possession of the debris, which it confirmed to have come from a space rocket launched by China.