Published On: Fri, Jun 14th, 2019

U.S. hits intimidation at sea after Philippine boat sinking

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‘We are thankful none of the Filipino fishermen lost their lives and glad that Vietnamese fishermen rescued them from the open sea,’ says the United States

Published 11:11 PM, June 14, 2019

Updated 11:11 PM, June 14, 2019

GOING HOME. The fishermen and crew of F/B Gem-vir, the fishing boat sunk by a Chinese vessel near the Recto Bank on June 9, alight from the BRP Ramon Alcaraz after they were turned over to Mindoro local officials by the Philippine Navy on June 14, 2019. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

GOING HOME. The fishermen and crew of F/B Gem-vir, the fishing boat sunk by a Chinese vessel near the Recto Bank on June 9, alight from the BRP Ramon Alcaraz after they were turned over to Mindoro local officials by the Philippine Navy on June 14, 2019. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The United States on Friday evening, June 14, rejected coercion and intimidation to assert maritime claims after a Chinese vessel sank a Philippine boat in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

“We saw news reports of the collision at sea. We are thankful none of the Filipino fishermen lost their lives and glad that Vietnamese fishermen rescued them from the open sea,” the US embassy said in a statement.

“Our position on the South China Sea is clear: We support lawful uses of the sea, respect for international law, unimpeded lawful commerce, and peace and stability. We urge all parties to refrain from using coercion and intimidation to assert their territorial and maritime claims,” the US added.

The US issued this statement around an hour after China admitted a Chinese vessel was involved in the sinking of a Philippine boat near Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea.

Filipino fishermen said a Chinese vessel deliberately sank their boat on June 9, but the Chinese embassy denied there was a “hit and run” near Recto Bank. China claimed the Chinese vessel was in fact “besieged by 7 or 8 Filipino fishing boats,” preventing it from rescuing the Filipino fishermen from their sunken boat.

This is the latest twist in this unprecedented episode in the dispute between Manila and Beijing over the West Philippine Sea. The incident took place near Recto Bank, an oil-rich underwater reef formation that belongs to the Philippines but is coveted by China. – Rappler.com

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