February 15, 2023
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian met to strategize on Tuesday on how best to settle the maritime disputes between the two nations.
The high-level meeting between the two officials was held as a response to an incident in which a China Coast Guard ship fired a laser beam at a Philippine Coast Guard vessel near the Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, causing temporary vision impairment to some of the PCG crew.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila issued a statement saying, “Both parties discussed how to actualize the consensus formed by the two heads of state, increase dialogue and communication, and thoughtfully manage maritime differences between China and the Philippines.”
Marcos summoned Huang to air his “serious concern” over the actions of China against the PCG and Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.
The Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest following the Ayungin Shoal incident.
China, however, asserted that the Philippines intruded into Chinese territory (Ren’ai Reef), and hence took action.
The Philippines has sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea, based on the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s 2016 ruling.
China, however, refuses to recognize the court’s verdict.