MANILA – Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the unannounced passage of Chinese warships in the Philippine waters was an “issue” for President Rodrigo Duterte.
He added that foreign vessels passing through Manila’s waters should inform Philippine authorities first, as stated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
“It is an issue with the Office of the President given that we need to be informed in advance of any passage in our territory because that is what the UNCLOS says,” Panelo said on Monday.
He added Duterte will raise the issue when he meets Chinese President Xi Jinping later this month.
“I feel that since we’re friends, any issue can be discussed and threshed out,” Panelo said.
It was reported that nine Chinese warships passed in the Sibutu Strait in the Philippines’ southern tip last July and earlier this month without informing local authorities.
Department of Foreign Affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the country must file another diplomatic protest against Beijing over Chinese ships “trespassing” in Philippine waters.
Locsin ordered his department’s Office of Asia and Pacific Affairs to “drop the diplomatic crap” after Defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana questioned the unannounced passage of nine Chinese warships in Sibutu Strait.
“File diplomatic protest over Chinese warship, drop the diplomatic crap, say it is ours period, they’re trespassing. If we did it already fire another. We won’t run out. And don’t wait for formal intel. This is the Secretary of National Defense no less. Fire at will,” said Locsin./PN