(Eagle News)–Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin said he “merely noted” the apology issued by the owner of a Chinese vessel that rammed a Filipino fishing vessel in Recto Bank and abandoned the Filipino crew at sea.
Locsin made the comment in a Tweet on Wednesday night, after the Palace said it “accept(s) the recent apology extended by the owner of the Chinese vessel to our fishermen affected by the incident.”
The apology was contained in a letter signed by Chen Shiqin, president of the Guangdong Fishery Mutual Insurance Association, portions of which were translated into English by the Philippine embassy in China.
The translation was included in an Aug. 28 memorandum which contained what appeared to be the signature of Locsin and the word “Noted!”
According to Locsin, he was “not a fisherman” in the first place.
“(Presidential Spokesperson Salvador) Panelo merely expressed satisfaction with the Chinese apology for the incident and the offer of compensation and nothing more,” Locsin said.
Locsin’s comment came as he prepares to accompany President Rodrigo Duterte in his trip to China.
The President and his entourage left Manila for the Asian giant on Wednesday night.
The Palace had said the President would raise the Recto Bank incident during the visit, and the arbitral ruling that invalidated the nine-dash line of China.
The line delineates the expansive claims made by the Asian giant in the South China Sea, parts of which are being claimed by the Philippines.
The visit comes following the Philippines’ filing of diplomatic protests against China over several issues that include the swarming of Chinese vessels near Pagasa Island, the presence of Chinese survey ships and warships in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, and the unauthorized passage of Chinese warships through Sibutu Strait.