President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. summoned Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian to Malacanang, after a new incident in the West Philippine Sea that saw an alleged military-grade laser being pointed at a Philippine Navy ship causing temporary blindness
The Presidential Communications Office said Marcos summoned China’s diplomat in order to express his “serious concern” with the rising frequency and intensity of actions by Beijing against personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard and Filipino fishermen
China quickly issued a statement claiming that their meeting simply focused on strengthening communication and “managing maritime differences” between the two countries.
“They exchanged views on how to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state, strengthen dialogue and communication, and properly manage maritime differences between China and the Philippines,” the Chinese Embassy in Manila said in a post on its website.
It will be recalled that the Chinese Coast Guard’s used a military-grade laser against a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel while in a resupply mission for Filipino troops in Ayungin Shoal.
The Philippine Naval vessel – the BRP Sierra Madre – has been grounded at Ayungin shoal since 1999.
Earlier, China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin tried to turn the table against the Philippines as they declared that the PCG vessel “intruded into the waters off the Ren’ai Reef without Chinese permission.”
Wang insisted that Ren’ai Reef is part of China’s Nansha Islands or what the Philippines refers to as Spratly Islands.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has lodged a protest against the incident.
The incident came a month after Marcos held bilateral talks with Chinese president Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People where part of their talks focused on the West Philippine Sea.
CurrentPH News Service