Coast Guard in coordination with Chinese Embassy over suspected rocket debris

Coast Guard in coordination with Chinese Embassy over suspected rocket debris
Debris suspected to be from a Chinese rocket is seen in this photo released by the Philippine Coast Guard.
Release / Philippine Coast Guard

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard said Friday it is coordinating with Beijing’s embassy in Manila over debris suspected to be from a Chinese rocket which was recovered in Morong, Bataan.

“We are coordinating with the Chinese Embassy. We have told them about this,” PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said in a briefing aired over state-run People’s Television.

Balilo added that they are also in close coordination with the Philippine Space Agency.

The debris spotted Monday by fisherman Alvin Menez in waters off Napot Point resembled a portion of Chinese automated cargo spacecraft Tianzhou, the PCG earlier said.

Balilo noted that the debris had markings of Chinese characters.

The PCG said in a statement that the debris is in possession of its Bataan station for investigation and proper disposition.

This is not the first time that suspected Chinese rocket debris was found in Philippine waters.

In December 2022, a portion of rocket debris suspected to have been launched by China’s Space Launch Center in Hainan province was recovered by the PCG and several fishermen near Subic, Zambales.

In the previous month, debris suspected to be from China’s Long March 5B rocket was found in the waters off Occidental Mindoro and Palawan.

In August 2022, suspected debris from China’s Long March CZ-5B booster rocket was also spotted in waters off Occidental Mindoro.

The recovery of suspected rocket debris did not come without controversy, with Manila having filed in a diplomatic protest with China after its coast guard personnel “forcefully” took from the Philippine Navy debris from a Chinese rocket off Pag-asa Island in November 2022. — Xave Gregorio

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