Philippines Investigates Alleged Recorded Call with Chinese Embassy

Sun May 19 2024
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MANILA, Philippine: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced that the Philippines is looking into an alleged recording of a phone conversation between a local military official and the Chinese embassy in Manila, which allegedly describes an agreement over the disputed region in the South China Sea.

On May 18, President Marcos sent out an email statement from his office, saying, “We are looking into it because the fact of the matter is there has been mention of a tape that confirms that there was this agreement.”

Bloomberg News revealed earlier in May that Chinese officials said Beijing would soon make available an audio clip of the alleged conversation with a military official in the Philippines.

China claims this recording is evidence of an agreement on a “new model” for handling disputed territory in the South China Sea. However, Philippine officials have denied the existence of any such agreement.

Vice-Admiral Alberto Carlos, the head of the Philippine military’s Western Command, is reported to have approved a “new model” for managing resupply missions to the Philippine-occupied Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea during the alleged phone call on January 3, according to a transcript provided by Chinese officials to Bloomberg News.

President Marcos emphasized that it is difficult to draw conclusions until the contents of the recording are verified. “It’s in the possession of the Chinese embassy and the Chinese government. So, until they release it, it’s harder to believe and to accept that there was an agreement,” he said.

The investigation highlights the ongoing tension and complexities surrounding territorial disputes in the South China Sea, a strategically important and resource-rich region claimed by multiple countries. The situation remains sensitive as both nations navigate diplomatic and military interactions in the area.

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