But the sinking of the Filipino boat, FB Gimber1, which came after a swarm of hundreds of Chinese vessels blocked Filipino fishermen from reaching their traditional fishing grounds earlier this year, has thrown bilateral relations off balance. Filipino politicians on both sides of the aisle were demanding answers from China. It was not clear whether the sinking, if not accidental, was in any way directed by Beijing or simply a rogue act. “Even if this is a Chinese fishing boat, I think this is just an incident among the people, not related to governments,” said Hu Bo, an associate researcher at the Institute of Ocean Research at Peking University in Beijing. In years past, Chinese fishing boats have launched assertive forays into disputed waters, with white hulls, as Coast Guard ships are known, keeping a discreet distance.
Source: International New York Times June 13, 2019 09:11 UTC