Reuters: A Chinese coast guard ship on Sunday “forcefully retrieved” a floating object being towed by a Philippine vessel in the South China Sea by cutting a line attaching it to the boat, a Philippine military commander said.
Philippine naval authorities sent a vessel to examine the floating object after it was spotted early on Sunday about 800 yards (730 metres) west of Thitu island, Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, commander of the Western Command (WESCOM), said in a statement.
The team tied the object to their boat and started towing it before the Chinese coast guard vessel approached and blocked their course twice before deploying an inflatable boat that cut the tow line, then took the object back to the coast guard ship, the statement said.
The statement did not say what the object was or whether the Chinese coast guard vessel indicated why it took the object. The incident occurred as US Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in the Philippines on Sunday for talks aimed at reviving ties with Manila, an Asian ally that is central to US efforts to counter China’s increasingly assertive policies towards Taiwan.