MANILA, Philippines — The embassies of Japan and China in the Philippines have figured in a heated exchange on social media over Beijing’s alleged coral harvesting in the Rozul Reef of the West Philippine Sea.
On Sunday, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko raised the alarm over China’s alleged actions on X (formerly Twitter). He reiterated that oceans and coral reefs must be protected.
“Very alarming news. Our oceans are the lifeblood of our planet, (and) coral reefs are its colorful heartbeat. Let us preserve (and) protect these vital ecosystems for generations to come,” he said, apparently in reaction to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s declaration on Saturday that the corals of Rozul Reef are now wiped out.
AFP said Chinese militia ships had been seen around the reef.
The Chinese embassy responded, saying people should be alarmed by such “misinformation.”
“People should be alarmed by the spread of such misinformation. The oceans are indeed the vital element of our planet. So stop the release of contaminated nuclear water from Fukushima,” he said on X, apparently referring to Japan releases 1 million tons of treated radioactive water from the wreckage of the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean. on August 24.
China previously called Japan’s move “extremely selfish and irresponsible.” Several other countries around the world have also criticized Japan for its decision to release treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.
The Philippines’ position on the release of Fukushima waters into the ocean was not explicit, but the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier issued a statement saying:
“The Philippines continues to examine this issue from a scientific and factual perspective and its impact on the waters of the region. As a coastal and archipelagic state, the Philippines attaches the highest priority to the protection and preservation of the marine environment.
READ: PH pledges to protect marine environment as Japan plans to release radioactive water
“The Philippines recognizes the technical expertise of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on this issue,” the statement added.
READ: Japan grateful to PH government for understanding its radioactive water releases
INQUIRER.net sought comment from the DFA on China’s alleged coral harvesting in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, but it has yet to respond as of this writing.
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