Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte - Philippine Politics News

The Philippines’ top diplomat said Thursday he has filed a diplomatic protest after an anchored fishing boat was hit by a suspected Chinese vessel which then abandoned the 22 Filipino fishermen as the boat sank in the disputed South China Sea. Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he filed the protest Wednesday. He disclosed the move in a tweet in response to a suggestion by opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV that an independent investigation be conducted by the International Maritime Organization, a U.N. agency. Another opposition senator, Risa Hontiveros, called on President Rodrigo Duterte to recall the Philippine ambassador and consuls in China to pressure Beijing to identify and punish the Chinese crewmen allegedly involved in the incident. China condemned the incident but did not immediately confirm or deny that a Chinese vessel was involved. The sinking is a delicate development in the long-contested South China Sea, which is seen as a potential flashpoint in Asian relations. Tensions escalated after China converted seven disputed reefs into islands which can serve as forward military bases and intimidate rival claimant states in the strategic waterway, where U.S. forces undertake “freedom of navigation” patrols. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana disclosed on Wednesday that a boat, identified as F/B Gimver 1, was carrying 22 Filipino fishermen and sank Sunday night after being hit by the suspected Chinese vessel at Reed Bank off the western Philippine province of Palawan. Lorenzana strongly condemned the crew of the vessel, which he said was identified by the Filipinos as…

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