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MANILA, Philippines – The Chinese embassy in Manila said on Saturday, September 23, that one of its vessels rescued two Filipino fishermen in the Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea.
In a Facebook post, the Chinese embassy said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) naval vessel Aba was approached by the Filipino fishermen seeking help after one of the fishers suffered wounds caused by propeller blades and “began losing blood.”
The embassy said the naval medics on board the Chinese vessel examined the fisherman’s wound and brought him aboard their ship for treatment. It added that the Chinese PLA also provided the Flipinos food, medical supplies, including antibiotics and painkillers, before turning them over “to the Philippine side.”
Xinhua, China’s official state news agency, said China Coast Guard (CCG) also informed the Philippines about the fishermen’s status.
“We were moved by hearing about the recent rescue of two Philippine fishermen by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. It’s a story that reminds us of the importance of humanitarian efforts and cooperation between nations,” the Chinese embassy said.
The rescue came amid China’s concerning actions in the West Philippine Sea and harassment of Filipinos within the Philippines’ own waters.
On September 16, the Armed Forces of the Philippines raised alarm over the suspected massive illegal harvesting of corals in Rozul Reef in the West Philippine Sea. Later, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said they found extensive damage in the marine environment frequently visited by Chinese ships.
The Office of the Solicitor General, which serves as the Philippine government’s primary counsel, mulled filing another complaint against China in the Hague over the environmental destruction. China, in response, criticized the Philippines and said it was “creating a political drama” over the coral damage.
Earlier this month, Philippine resupply ships were harassed by Chinese forces in the West Philippine Sea. Escorted by the PCG, the Philippine team was on a routine mission to bring supplies to Filipino marines stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre – a World War II-era grounded ship that serves as the country’s outpost near Ayungin Shoal.
On their way to the shoal, four CCG vessels and four Chinese maritime militia vessels harassed the Philippine vessels, cruising dangerously close, surrounding the PCG vessel. The Philippines then immediately condemned China’s actions. – Rappler.com