Panelo: Chinese envoy won’t be summoned over Recto Bank allision
Robie de Guzman • June 18, 2019 • 1663
MANILA, Philippines – Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua will not be summoned over the allision incident involving Filipino and Chinese fishing vessels in Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
“The president, I think, is not inclined to do that,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
“Because ang feeling niya, ginagawa na nila, may statement na si Ambassador about seriously and cautiously studying the facts,” he added.
Panelo’s statement contradicts the earlier remark of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana that China’s representative would be invited to the Palace to explain about the matter.
Duterte on Monday described the sinking of a Philippine boat by a Chinese ship as a “little maritime accident.”
‘Wag kayong maniwala sa mga politiko na bobo, gusto papuntahin ‘yung Navy. You do not send gray ships there. Banggaan lang ng barko ‘yan,” the chief executive said in a speech during a Philippine Navy event in Cavite.
The president’s remark disappointed many, including the Filipino fishers.
But Panelo explained, the President was just being cautious about the matter to prevent it from becoming an international crisis, which might affect trade relations between the Philippines and China and other sectors, including the ordinary fishermen visiting disputed territories and the Filipino workers in China.
“He doesn’t want this blown into an international crisis given the fact na matagal din na nabago ‘yung relasyon from the time ng previous administration na masama ang relasyon,” he said.
The Palace official also reiterated that the Philippine government would wait for the investigation to be concluded before taking any action.
Panelo said concerned agencies are already conducting further probe to clear any doubts on whether the incident was accidental or intentional, following the seemingly contradicting statements of some Filipino crew members.
“Kaya medyo nagkaroon ng doubt tuloy, of course, sinasabi ng Kapitan sinadya, sinasabi naman ng cook, mukhang ‘di sila nakita, with more reason na kailangang imbestigahan,” he said.
Panelo also floated the possibility of a joint investigation by the Philippines and China on the incident. (with details from Rosalie Coz)
The United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and Canada scolded China on Thursday (May 28) for imposing a new security law that they said would threaten freedom and breach a 1984 Sino-British agreement on the autonomy of the former colony.
British foreign minister Dominic Raab said the four countries were “deeply troubled” by the decision of China’s People’s Congress, which democracy activists in Hong Kong fear could erode its freedoms and jeopardise its role as a global financial hub.
China says the legislation will aim to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in the city but the plan, unveiled in Beijing last week, triggered the first big protests in Hong Kong for months.
Raab said Britain will give greater visa rights to British national overseas (BNO) passport holders from Hong Kong unless China suspends the proposed security laws. (Reuters)
China’s National People’s Congress’ third session closed on Thursday (May 28) after parliament members voted on a proposal to implement Hong Kong’s national security legislation.
“The session made a decision to establish a legal system and enforcement mechanism for the national security of Hong Kong’s Special Administrative Region,” chairman of the standing committee of the NPC, Li Zhanshu, told delegates at the closing ceremony.
“It will uphold and improve the ‘one country, two systems’ policy. It is in line with the Constitution and Hong Kong’s Basic Law and is in the interest of all Chinese people including Hong Kong people,” he added.
The legislation received 2,878 votes while one voted against and six abstained. The draft national security law has received international criticism with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declaring that Hong Kong is ‘no longer autonomous.’
Hong Kong, which has freedoms not granted in the mainland such as freedom of assembly and freedom of the press, has experienced months-long anti-government protests which sparked from a now-withdrawn extradition bill. (Reuters)
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday (May 26) that Beijing’s proposed national security laws would not trample on the city’s rights and freedoms and called on its citizens to wait to see the details of the legislation.
Beijing unveiled plans last week for national security legislation for Hong Kong that aims to tackle secession, subversion and terrorist activities. It could see Chinese intelligence agencies set up bases in the city.
Thousands poured onto the street of Hong Kong on Sunday (May 24) in a mass protest against the planned new security laws.
Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd and arrested almost 200 people.
More protests are expected in Hong Kong on Wednesday (May 27). (Reuters)
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