Philippines protests sinking of boat in disputed waters

The Philippines’ top diplomat said Thursday he has filed a diplomatic protest after an anchored fishing boat was hit by a suspected Chinese vessel which then abandoned the 22 Filipino fishermen as the boat sank in the disputed South China Sea.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he filed the protest Wednesday. He disclosed the move in a tweet in response to a suggestion by opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV that an independent investigation be conducted by the International Maritime Organization, a U.N. agency.

Another opposition senator, Risa Hontiveros, called on President Rodrigo Duterte to recall the Philippine ambassador and consuls in China to pressure Beijing to identify and punish the Chinese crewmen allegedly involved in the incident.

Beijing condemned the incident but did not immediately confirm or deny that a Chinese vessel was involved.