Marcos Says Philippines Probing China’s Alleged Phone Call Tape

(Bloomberg) -- The Philippines is investigating the alleged recording by the Chinese Embassy in Manila of a phone call with a local military official in which an agreement was said to be reached in the countries’ dispute over territory in the South China Sea.

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“We are looking into it because the fact of the matter is there has been mention of a tape that confirms that there was this agreement,” President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Saturday, according to an emailed statement from his office.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg News cited Chinese officials as saying that Beijing may soon release an audio recording of the purported phone call with a Philippine military official, which China claims is evidence of an agreement on a “new model” over disputed territory in the South China Sea. Philippine officials have denied there is any agreement.

In the alleged Jan. 3 phone call, Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos who is the head of the Philippine military’s Western Command, agreed to a “new model” in handling resupply missions to the Philippine-occupied Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, according to a transcript provided by Chinese officials to Bloomberg News.

Marcos said it is difficult to arrive at a conclusion until he hears for himself the contents of the recording.

“It’s in the possession of the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese government. So, until they release it, it’s harder to believe and to accept that there was an agreement,” he said.

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