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PH to send note verbale to China over Pag-asa Island incident — Marcos

Metro Manila, November 23 ------ The Philippines will be sending a note verbale to China following an alleged confrontation between the Chinese Coast Guard and the Philippine Navy near Pag-asa Island, President Bongbong Marcos said.

"Yes, I think that that's what we need to do, because when it was first reported to me by the chief of staff, I asked him to immediately call the military attaché in the Chinese embassy to get a report," Marcos told reporters in an interview. The Armed Forces of the Philippines' Western Command earlier said the Chinese Coast Guard "forcefully" took an unidentified floating object, which the Philippine Navy had retrieved off Pag-asa Island. But the Chinese Embassy denied the report, saying there was a "friendly consultation" between both sides.

Marcos said the issue must be resolved, as he took note of the differing accounts about what really happened. "I have complete trust in our Navy and if this is what they say happened, I can only believe that that is what happened," the chief executive stressed. He added he was glad to be making a trip to China early next year, citing the "things that we need to work out." "Because with the way that the region is heating up, baka may magkamali lang may misunderstanding then lalaki 'yung sunog.

Pag-asa Island, internationally known as Thitu Island, is considered by Manila as part of Palawan province — which Beijing contests. The Department of National Defense (DND), for its part, said it is standing by the accounts of military personnel in the area. "We are reviewing all reports to determine our future actions," the agency said in a separate statement.

The DND added it is awaiting additional details on the reported explosions near the island after the incident.



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