Chinese vessel sinks Filipino fishing vessel and leaves its crew in the sea Watch

AngeryPenguin
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Despite President Duterte's pro-China stance, Phillipine-China relations have taken a sharp frosty turn.

After dark on June 9, the FB GEM-VER, a Philippine fishing boat, was anchored somewhere near Reed Bank in the middle of the South China Sea when a Chinese vessel crashed into its side out of the blue. As the fishing boat began to sink, the Chinese vessel flashed its lights, revealing 22 Filipino fishermen desperately trying to stay afloat amid the wreckage. The Chinese vessel shut off its lights, turned around, and promptly sailed away. Hours later, a Vietnamese fishing boat rescued the stranded sailors.

June 9, as it happens, has been Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day since 2002.

The sea has long been a point of harsh contention between China and the Philippines. In 2013, tensions between the two countries became particularly heightened when Manila initiated an arbitration case against Beijing under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), opposing Beijing’s Nine-Dash demarcation line and “historic rights” to disputed territories. Three years later, in 2016, the case was ruled in the Philippines’ favor, but China declined to formally recognize the decision. That has left islands and features in the South China Sea such as Reed Bank legally Philippine but disputed by China.

Following the Philippines’ legal victory against China, which had been initiated under the previous administration, Duterte avoided provoking China further by terminating joint patrols with the U.S. Navy in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, and entering a policy of appeasement with Chinese President Xi Jinping. But now, after Duterte has spent three years trying to quell tensions, the Philippines finds itself at odds with China yet again.

On June 12, shortly after the return of the 22 fishermen, Philippine National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana issued a statement strongly condemning China’s actions, calling the incident “cowardly.” Other current and former senior officials in the Philippine government made similar remarks, including Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who urged the president to launch an investigation. But Duterte remained silent.

The next day, Beijing issued a statement saying that the crash was an “ordinary maritime traffic accident,” and on June 14, it released another statement asserting that the Chinese vessel was “besieged by seven or eight Filipino boats.” This account, however, has since been contradicted by the findings of a joint investigation between the Philippines and China that concluded the incident was a “very serious marine casualty” in which the Chinese vessel failed to comply with the regulations of the UNCLOS.

Duterte finally broke his silence on June 17, seven days after the FB GEM-VER crew members returned to the Philippines. In a speech, the president echoed China’s statement, describing the event as a “little maritime accident,” and warned the public to “not make it worse.” Suddenly, the rhetoric of other Philippine government officials and cabinet secretaries began to change. Many started to offer doubts that the crash was intentional, and several, including Lorenzana, pulled back on their previous condemnations.

Many Filipinos are sceptical about their government’s reaction to China’s claims. The captain and fishermen aboard the FB GEM-VER have spoken out and given emotional testimonies about the incident, recounting the horrors of the crash and subsequent abandonment by the Chinese vessel. “[Duterte] is the most talkative man in Southeast Asia, and he was quiet [for seven days],” said Richard Heydarian, a research fellow at National Chengchi University in Taiwan.

The backlash against Duterte intensified after an agreement between Beijing and Manila was announced that allowed the presence of Chinese fishermen in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone,

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/07/12...-handle-china/
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RedGiant
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AngeryPenguin
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(Original post by RedGiant)
ok
> Political Ambassador

Why, a diplomat! Are you saying that you've sorted this situation out?
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RedGiant
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(Original post by AngeryPenguin)
> Political Ambassador

Why, a diplomat! Are you saying that you've sorted this situation out?
Yeah, by simply stating "ok", I got it all sorted.
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