PH could cut ties with China - Palace

DND: Chinese ship hit, sank PH vessel in West PH Sea

"This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people", Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

The sinking is a delicate development in the long-contested South China Sea, which is seen as a potential flashpoint in Asian relations.

Duterte "outraged" over sinking of Filipino vessel The Philippines would not hesitate to sever diplomatic ties with China if the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat in disputed waters earlier this week turned out to be intentional, Malacañang said on Thursday.

The Vietnamese ship was passing by the area and were able to rescue the Filipinos, who had no access to communication networks and could not call for help.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday also condemned the Chinese's abandonment of 22 Filipino fishermen. "Hindi natin alam (We don't know), we'll leave it to the President", Panelo said.

President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman described the act of China's fishing vessel on June 9 as uncivilised, outrageous and barbaric in what could be the most serious flare-up between Manila and Beijing in three years.

Locsin in a tweet said he filed the protest "quietly", but did not give anymore details.

The two countries have been cooperating on infrastructure investments, as Duterte seeks to build the Philippine economy amid a tough and controversial war on drugs.

But the president has been observed to be less firm with China, repeatedly stressing that the Philippines can not afford a war over the maritime dispute.

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"It only goes to show that despite this friendship, ". "It might be said that China is now abusing the government's inaction. that's why something like this could happen, so close to our shores, against our own citizens".

Panelo joins Lorenzana in calling for an investigation and sanction against the Chinese crewmen for their actions.

"It is crystal-clear violation of maritime protocols as well as an infringement of internationally accepted practice of assisting a vessel in distress".

"Regardless of the nature of the collision, whether it was accidental or intentional, common decency and the dictates of humanity require the immediate saving of the crew of the downed Philippine vessel", he said.

The Palace official, however, called on Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua to explain his government's position on the issue.

China claims nearly the entirety of the South China Sea, including significant portions of the sovereign territory of the Philippines. China has refused to recognize the ruling.

Del Rosario was among those who filed a complaint against Chinese President Xi Jinping over the alleged militarization of artificial islands, damage to marine environment, and harassment of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.

Batongbacal believes the collision should be a "wake-up call" for changes in Duterte's policy.

"First, magdidoplomatic protest ka, kung hindi ka kuntento sa paliwanag nila at nakita natin na talagang sinadya, e ibang usapan yun", he added, noting that authorities are still investigating the incident. "Or that China will further abuse the friendship the Philippines has shown to it".

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