FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo on Thursday said the country has already sent a note verbale to China after its coast guard forcibly retrieved a floating object from Philippine Navy near Pag-asa Island.
“We have issued a note verbale already, seeking clarification from China on the incident. We, of course, have our own reports, but we would like to hear it from the side of China,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said.
The country’s top envoy said the note verbale was sent on Wednesday. Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) noted in a statement this was upon the instruction of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Manalo added the DFA continues to study the incident, including further diplomatic actions that may need to be taken, based on the official reply of Beijing.
He also emphasized that the subject of the note is to seek clarification on the incident involving the Philippine Navy and the Chinese Coast Guard. Other events that could be related to that will be considered depending on the reply the Philippines will receive.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Command on Monday reported that the unidentified floating object the Philippine Navy had retrieved off Pag-asa Island was taken forcefully by the Chinese Coast Guard last Sunday morning.
The Chinese embassy identified the floating object as the wreckage of the fairing of a rocket recently launched by the East Asian nation. It also denied it forcefully took the item, saying there was a “friendly consultation” between involved parties.
Hours after the Sunday incident, residents in Pag-asa Islands reported hearing blasts that were believed to be from the artillery guns/weapons on the Subi Reef or the Zamora Reef, a Beijing-occupied feature in the West Philippine Sea.