Marcos summons envoy over China's 'aggressive acts' vs PCG, Filipino fishermen

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has summoned Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian to convey his "serious concern" over China's aggressive acts against the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Filipino fishermen.

(Photo courtesy of Malacañang)

Malacañang said this happened on Tuesday, Feb. 14, the same day the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) lodged a diplomatic protest against China over the recent beaming of military-grade laser light to a PCG vessel in Ayungin Shoal.

"The President summoned Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian this afternoon to express his serious concern over the increasing frequency and intensity of actions by China against the Philippine Coast Guard and our Filipino fishermen in their bancas, the latest of which was the deployment of a military grade laser against our Coast Guard vessels," Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Garafil said in a statement.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila, meanwhile, disclosed that Marcos and Huang "exchanged views on how to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state, strengthen dialogue and communication, and properly manage maritime differences between China and the Philippines" during the meeting.

The DFA's diplomatic protest condemned “the shadowing, harassment, dangerous maneuvers, directing of military-grade laser, and illegal radio challenges by CCG (Chinese Coast Guard) vessel 5205 against PCG vessel BRP Malapascua on 6 February 2023.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Ma. Teresita Daza stressed that "the acts of aggression by China are disturbing and disappointing" as it took place following Marcos' state visit to China in January.

In that trip, Marcos and Chinese President Xi Jinping "agreed to manage maritime differences through diplomacy and dialogue, without resorting to force and intimidation," Daza said.

Both leaders also agreed to come up with a direct line of communication to resolve sea incidents such as the recent beaming of laser light to a PCG vessel that caused temporary blindness to its crew.

China, however, justified its action, saying that the PCG vessel intruded into the waters off the Ren’ai Reef without China's permission and its beaming of laser light is CCG's way of upholding China’s sovereignty and maritime order.

The latest diplomatic protest lodged by the Philippines against China is the 75th protest under the Marcos administration.