MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Friday demanded “courtesy” after Chinese warships reportedly passed through Philippine territory earlier this year without proper clearance from authorities.
“We’re friends. We’re friends, (and) we provide each other with courtesies required of friendship,” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in an interview on the sidelines of the 118th Police Service Anniversary Celebration in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said China did not ask for clearance before some of its warships passed through Sibutu Strait in the Philippines’ southern tip four times from February to July.
But Panelo surmised the Chinese warships could have passed through the waters of Tawi-Tawi without the knowledge of the Chinese government.
“We do not know actually if the Chinese government allowed this kind of violation because it may be that warships pass through that (area) without the Chinese government knowing it,” Panelo said.
“That is if there’s negligence on the part of those in command,” he added.
The Philippines has already filed a diplomatic protest over the passage of the warships.
President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping later this month, where he said he will invoke the Philippines’ arbitral victory against China, maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea, the delay in the formulation of the South China Sea code of conduct, and possible joint oil exploration deal between Manila and Beijing.
Beijing has refused to recognize the July 2016 historic decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, which favored the Philippines’ position and invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim that covers almost the entire South China Sea. /kga
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