CHINA said it sympathizes with the Filipino fishermen whose boat sank after a Chinese vessel struck it at Reed (Recto) Bank in West Philippine Sea even as Beijing vowed to continue with its investigation into the June 9 incident and enhance communication with the Philippine government.
In a regular press briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said “in a highly responsible attitude”, China will continue to earnestly investigate the incident.
“We are ready to enhance communication with the Philippine side on the investigation, increase understanding, dispel mistrust and find out what actually happened,” he said.
In the spirit of cooperation and friendship, “this incident will be handled properly based on fact,” he added.
He also expressed sympathy to the Filipino crew of the ill-fated fishing vessel.
Lu said after the collision took place, China and the Philippines had rounds of communication on the matter at various levels through multiple unimpeded channels.
“I’d like to stress that this is only an accidental collision between fishing boats at sea. It is irresponsible and counter-constructive to link this incident with China-Philippines friendship or even make political interpretations out of it.”
He said “China and the Philippines are neighbors across the sea. Our fishermen have long been friendly to each other, rendering mutual assistance to the best of their capabilities in times of need.”
“China attaches great importance to maritime safety,” Lu said adding “We will continue to cooperate with littoral countries in this area.”