Philippines and China tussle over retrieving Chinese rocket particles floating within the disputed South China Sea waters

Hong Kong

The Philippines and China tussled on Sunday over Chinese rocket particles within the disputed South China Sea, elevating tensions forward of a scheduled go to by US Vice President Kamala Harris.

A Chinese vessel allegedly blocked a Philippine naval boat twice earlier than taking the particles it was towing off Thitu Island, which is occupied by the Philippines and identified domestically as Pag-asa Island, stated Philippine Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos.

In an announcement issued Monday, Carlos stated that the Chinese coast guard had “forcefully retrieved” floating particles off the waters. He stated native personnel used a long-range digicam and noticed the particles about 800 yards away from a sandbar on Sunday and got down to examine it.

The particles was described as “metallic” and just like fragments recovered in different elements of the nation two weeks in the past, elevating suspicions that it originated from a latest Chinese rocket launch, state-run Philippine Information Company (PNA) reported.

Talking at an everyday press convention on Monday, Mao Ning, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of International Affairs, additionally confirmed that Chinese maritime police ships discovered an unknown floating object within the disputed waters on Sunday.

Mao denied any confrontation and informed reporters “there was no so-called interception and seizure at the scene.”

“After identifying it as the debris of a rocket fairing recently launched by China, local personnel first salvaged and towed the floating object. After friendly negotiations between the two sides, the Philippine side returned the floating object to the Chinese side on the spot, and Chinese personnel expressed their gratitude to the Philippine side,” Mao stated Monday.

The incident was reported Sunday, a day earlier than a scheduled go to by Harris to the western province of Palawan the place a Philippine navy command answerable for defending and patrolling its waters on the sting of the South China Sea is positioned.

This was not the primary time China’s house particles was discovered close to the Philippines. Particles retrieved in two totally different areas off the waters of Palawan and Occidental Mindoro might have come from a Lengthy March 5B rocket that China launched in late October, the Philippine Area Company (PhilSA) stated in an announcement on November 9.

“In relation to this, PhilSA would like to reiterate its sustained efforts to promote and encourage accountability among nations for objects launched into space,” the assertion stated.

China has been criticized repeatedly for permitting rocket levels to make uncontrolled reentry to Earth, with NASA final yr accusing Beijing for “failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris” after elements of a Chinese rocket landed within the Indian Ocean.