Recto Bank incident an accidental collision between fishing boats: China

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“On the early morning of June 10, an accidental collision took place between a Chinese fishing vessel and Filipino fishing vessels near the Liyue Tan (Recto Bank). We express our sympathy to the Filipino fishermen who were in distress,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said on June 17 during a press briefing.

He added that after the accident took place, China and the Philippines had rounds of communication regarding the said incident at various levels through multiple 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. In a highly responsible attitude, China will continue to earnestly investigate into this matter,” the Chinese spokesperson said.

He added that China is ready to enhance communication with the Philippine side on the investigation, increase understanding, dispel mistrust and find out what actually happened.

“In the spirit of cooperation and friendship, we believe this incident will be handled properly based on fact,” 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. We will continue to cooperate with littoral countries in this area,” he added.