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China rocket debris reported falling into Philippine waters

Debris from the booster stage that fell off from China's Long March 5B rocket reportedly fell into waters southeast of Puerto Princesa.

According to Chino Gaston's report on "24 Oras", remnants from the rocket were reported to have been seen in Malaysia and looked like shooting stars. 

It was not the first time such an incident occurred in the Philippines. In 2012, parts of a North Korean rocket crashed into the Philippine waters 300 kilometers East of Luzon.

Due to the country’s proximity to China’s launch facility, experts including University of the Philippines (UP) Prof. Jay Batongbacal have been studying the importance of ratifying space treaties.

The Philippine Space Agency said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) already had a copy of two treaties it had been pushing— the Registration Convention and the Liability Convention.

Under the Registration Convention, member countries are mandated to disclose information on the launched rockets, satellites, and other space instruments.

The Liability Convention, meanwhile, rolls out mechanisms for providing compensation or indemnification should the debris of fallen rockets, satellites, or space stations affect persons or properties.

GMA News has reached out to the DFA and National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos for their comments.

“We are also susceptible to falling space objects. Every time they launch something there, the first stage booster will fall back into the sea, and we see them falling into the South China Sea and we have seen parts of it washed ashore sa Samar, so we are really in the path,” UP IMLOS Prof. Jay Batongbacal said.

China said Long March 5B is designed to burn in the atmosphere and there is a very little possibility it would cause damage to aviation activities.

“According to the information at hand, this rocket is designed with special technology, and the overwhelming majority of its components will burn up during the re-entry into the atmosphere. The probability of this process causing harm to aviation activities or to the ground is extremely low,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said. -Sundy Locus/NB, GMA News