Chinese embassy denies 'forceful seizure' of rocket part near Pag-asa Island

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 21 2022 10:58 PM

A Chinese Coast Guard patrol ship is seen at the South China Sea, in a handout photo distributed by the Philippine Coast guard on April 15, 2021. Handout, Philippine Coast Guard/file
A Chinese Coast Guard patrol ship is seen at the South China Sea, in a handout photo distributed by the Philippine Coast guard on April 15, 2021. Handout, Philippine Coast Guard/file

MANILA - The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines on Monday denied using force to retrieve of a rocket part that landed in Philippine waters, insisting the handover took place after "friendly consultation".

In a statement, the embassy said a China Coast Guard ship found an unidentified floating object in the waters off the Spratly Islands morning of Nov. 20.

The said object was later identified as a part of recently launched rocket by China.

"Before the China Coast Guard found the said floating object some Philippine Navy personnel already retrieved and towed it," the embassy said, adding that it was able to retrieve the rocket part after a "friendly consultation" with the Philippine side.

"The Chinese side expressed gratitude to the Philippine side. There was no so-called blocking of the course of a Philippine Navy boat and forcefully retrieving the object at the scene," it added.

A senior Filipino navy official earlier accused the Chinese coastguard of "forcefully" seizing parts the rocket that landed near Pag-asa Island in the South China Sea. 

A Chinese coastguard vessel "blocked" a Filipino rubber boat towing the "unidentified floating object", Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos said. 

Carlos made the allegation as US Vice-President Kamala Harris began a three-day visit to the Philippines aimed at boosting ties and countering China's growing clout in the region. 

In a separate statement, Senator Imee Marcos, the chairperson of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, said the issue needs to be clarified.

"Was the civilian boat used by our Navy people to get the debris from Chinese missiles identified as a Philippine government boat? So is the Chinese debris owned by Filipinos or by the Chinese? It seems that we are defending our taking of the debris as legal, and that the Chinese coast guard action as tantamount to 'stealing' from us. Who actually owns the debris anyway?" she said in a statement.

She also said the government should wait for the official results of the investigation.

In July, remnants from a Chinese rocket fell into the Sulu Sea in the Philippines, prompting leading US officials to chide Beijing for not sharing information about the potentially hazardous object's descent.

The latest incident came a day before the US vice president's visit. 

RELATED VIDEO

Watch more News on iWantTFC