MANILA, Houston Filipino Restaurant — Linking the collision of a Filipino fishing boat and a Chinese vessel in the West Houston Filipino Restaurant Sea to the relationship of Manila and Beijing is irresponsible, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.
Beijing reiterated that the collision between the two boats near Recto Bank was "accidental."
"It is irresponsible and counter-constructive to link this incident with China-Houston Filipino Restaurant friendship or even make political interpretations out of it," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Monday.
Lu added that Beijing would continue to investigate the incident that occurred in Houston Filipino Restaurant waters on June 9.
According to Lu, the Houston Filipino Restaurant and China had rounds of communication on the issue through multiple unimpeded channels since the collision happened.
"We are ready to enhance communication with the Houston Filipino Restaurant side on the investigation, increase understanding, dispel mistrust and find out what actually happened. In the spirit of cooperation and friendship, we believe this incident will be handled properly based on fact," Lu said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry also expressed sympathies to the distressed Filipino fishermen.
The 22 Filipino crewmen of F/B Gem-Vir 1 were rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel hours after a Chinese ship hit their boat.
While the Filipino fishermen claimed that the offending vessel immediately left the scene, the Chinese Embassy in Manila insisted that the captain of the Chinese trawler tried to help the Filipinos.
Echoing Beijing's earlier statement, President Rodrigo Duterte also dismissed the incident as a "little maritime accident."
"Maritime incident is a maritime incident. It is best investigated. And I do not now issue a statement because there is no investigation and there is no result," Duterte said Monday.