AFP says Chinese ship took aggressive action vs PH plane | Global News

AFP says Chinese ship took aggressive action vs PH plane

/ 05:39 AM April 25, 2015

The military on Friday said a Chinese ship acted aggressively on Sunday against a Philippine military plane on patrol over waters claimed by Manila in the disputed South China Sea.

Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the Chinese vessel around noon on Sunday flashed powerful lights and radioed the Philippine Navy plane to leave the area near Subi Reef, one of the islands in the Spratlys chain occupied by the Philippines.

“You are entering Chinese territory, leave,” Cabunoc quoted the Chinese crew as telling the Philippine plane.




Warning ignored

Cabunoc said the pilots ignored the Chinese ship’s actions to avoid escalating the confrontation.

“We will not respond with aggressive actions, as stated in the Declaration of Conduct [of Parties in the South China Sea],” Cabunoc said, referring to the 2002 agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China to maintain the status quo in the disputed waters.

He said the Chinese vessel did not fire at the Philippine plane.

Still, the AFP denounced the Chinese act of challenging the Philippine military right in Philippine territory.

“We are concerned why we are being challenged in our own territory. This is an aggressive action on the part of the Chinese vessel,” Cabunoc said.


The incident happened a day before thousands of Filipino and American troops opened joint exercises in places overlooking the West Philippine Sea, part of the South China Sea within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone.

Earlier, there were reports that a Chinese frigate fired an illumination round at a Philippine Navy patrol plane that was flying to Pag-asa Island in the Spratlys on Monday.

Patient on Pag-asa

Cabunoc denied there was such an incident. He said the military’s Western Command had been scheduled to pick up a patient named Chito Pastor on Pag-asa on Thursday, but was unable to provide an aircraft.

Earlier this month, a Chinese Coast Guard vessel fired a water cannon at Filipino fishermen and seized some of their catch near Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) off the coast of Zambales province.

China is claiming nearly all of the South China Sea, including waters within the exclusive economic zones of its smaller neighbors.

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The Philippines has challenged the Chinese claim in a United Nations arbitral tribunal. With a report from AP

TAGS: Armed Forces of the Philippines, Chinese, Chinese Ship, Chinese vessel, Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, South China Sea, Spratlys, Subi Reef

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