MANILA – Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. turned down a proposal for the Philippines and China to have a joint investigation into the Reed Bank incident.
Locsin on Friday said the two countries were conducting their separate investigations in the alleged ramming of a Chinese vessel to a Philippine fishing boat two weeks ago.
“There will be no joint investigation. China and Philippines will conduct their respective investigations,” Locsin said.
“I’ve stated my view of this proposal. DFA will act on my view and no one else’s. I talked to (Executive Secretary Salvador) Medialdea, Palace supports me. That’s that,” he added.
The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Kang on Thursday said China wanted a joint investigation as soon as possible to achieve “mutually-recognized results.”
However, Kang maintained the incident was an “accidental collision” and the Filipino and Chinese fishermen “have long been friendly to each other, rendering mutual assistance to the best of their capabilities in times of need.”
Department of Justice secretary Menardo Guevarra said they were open to the Chines proposal but will leave it to the DFA to agree with the joint probe.
Filipino fishermen were left helpless at Reed Bank off the western Philippine province of Palawan after their fishing boat was hit by a Chinese vessel causing it to sink but the Chinese insisted the collision was an accident./PN