China thanks PCG for rescuing Chinese fishermen

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 28) — China has expressed gratitude to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for the immediate rescue of a distressed Chinese fishing vessel off Eastern Samar.

"Our sincere gratitude and deep appreciation to Commandant Abu and PCG for their immediate response and humanitarian efforts to help the Chinese fishing vessel and 7 Chinese fishermen on board," Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said in a statement on Friday.

The Chinese fishermen were rescued off Suluan Island in Guiuan Friday. Their boat, which had a damaged hull, was towed to Tacloban Port by the PCG.

READ: PCG rescues Chinese crew from distressed fishing vessel in Eastern Samar

Huang described the rescue as proof of the friendship between Manila and Beijing, as he cited a Chinese vessel that saved a Filipino fisherman floating in the open sea off Davao Oriental earlier this week.

"These moves are in line with and concrete implementation of the important consensus reached by our two presidents on strengthening communication and improving dialogue mechanisms between our two Coast Guards, properly managing maritime differences through dialogue and consultation while expanding practical cooperation on the sea," the ambassador added.

In November last year, the Philippines sent a note verbale to China after a Chinese coast guard ship "forcefully" took what's believed to be rocket debris retrieved by the Philippine Navy off Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.

Chinese officials denied the alleged use of force, saying there was only "friendly consultation" between the two sides.

READ: PH sends note verbale to China following Pag-asa Island incident