BEIJING – A professor from China’s Renmin University said the governments of China and the Philippines seek to resolve the latest incident involving a Chinese vessel and a Filipino fishing boat in the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.

Wang Yiwei, professor at School of International Studies and Director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University, described the collision of boats as “more complex”.

He told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that despite this complicated situation, both governments intend to resolve the issue carefully and peacefully.

“Neither the Chinese and Philippine governments want to impact the overall situation of bilateral relations, and are properly communicating and handling them,” Wang said in Chinese on Monday (June 17).

Big Chinese media organizations here were mum about the incident, unlike the intensity of coverage of Philippine-based media.

The issue just gained attention more than a week after, with China Daily publishing a six-paragraph article about the collision and how the Chinese government is resolving the issue.

Asking how the Chinese media covered the issue, Wang added that they are “maintaining the China-Philippines friendship and handling the overall situation properly”.

China Daily's article on China vessel and Filipino fishermen boat collision published Tuesday, June 18, 2019.

 Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana also told the PNA that the Chinese government immediately communicated with the embassy right after receiving the information on the incident. He added that it was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that initiated the meeting with him.

In his speech at the closing celebration of Philippine Independence Day in Beijing on June 16, Sta. Romana said the two governments seek to resolve the differences through diplomacy.

This was also echoed by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang during a press conference early this week.

“After the incident took place, China and the Philippines had rounds of communication on this matter at various levels through multiple unimpeded channels,” Lu said.

The Chinese government also expressed sympathy to the Filipino fishermen who were in distress.

“China and the Philippines are neighbors across the sea. Our fishermen have long been friendly to each other, rendering mutual assistance to the best of their capabilities in times of need. China attaches great importance to maritime safety. We will continue to cooperate with littoral countries in this area,” he added. (PNA)