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Philippine vice admiral accuses Chinese embassy of secretly recording phone call on South China Sea
Philippine vice admiral accuses Chinese embassy of secretly recording phone call on South China Sea
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Philippine vice admiral accuses Chinese embassy of secretly recording phone call on South China Sea
by DZRH News22 May 2024
Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, chief of Philippine military's Western Command, speaks to the media during a press briefing at Western Command in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines, August 10, 2023. REUTERS/Eloisa/ File Photo

MANILA (Reuters) - A senior Philippine navy official on Wednesday accused the Chinese embassy in Manila of recording a phone call without his consent and denied forging a deal with Beijing to deescalate tensions in the South China Sea.

Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos told a senate hearing he received a call from China's military attache in Manila in January when he was still commander of the military post overseeing the South China Sea, but said he did not agree to concessions with China.

A transcript of the supposed phone conversation was published by local newspaper The Manila Times on May 8 during which it said Carlos had agreed to China's proposal of a "new model".

In the proposed model the Philippines would use fewer vessels in resupply missions to troops at the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, and notify Beijing about missions in advance, according to the conversion.

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"I condemn the act of the Chinese embassy to record the conversation without my consent, much more to divulge it to the public with malicious twist and manipulation in order to appear that our discussion supported the corrosive narrative of PRC," Carlos told a senate hearing, referring to the People's Republic of China.

Carlos, who has been reassigned to another command after taking an extended leave, said the call to him was made by senior colonel Li but he did not enter into any secret deals or discussed a "new model" with the embassy official.

Carlos told the inquiry that he doesn't know the colonel's full name.

Reuters did not have access to the reported phone conversation and could not verify the contents of the published transcript. Manila Times said the transcript was provided by a "ranking Chinese official", which it did not name.

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The Chinese Embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Its ambassador was invited to the senate hearing but he did not attend.

China's foreign ministry urged the Philippines on Wednesday to abide by the agreements and understandings reached for properly managing the situation in the South China Sea.

"The timeline is clear and clear, the facts are certain, the evidence is conclusive, and no one can deny it," Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a press conference.

The Philippines' national security adviser has called for Chinese diplomats to be expelled over the alleged leak of a phone conversation, accusing China's embassy in Manila of spreading "disinformation, misinformation and malinformation."

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(Reporting by Karen Lema in Manila; additional reporting by Mei Mei Chu in Beijing; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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