Palace: Presence of US warship in S. China Sea should not cause alarm
The presence of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the disputed South China Sea should not be a cause of concern as Malacañang said it was part of freedom of navigation.
“Sa akin naman po e talaga naman itong kalayaan ng paglalayag ay kalayaan ng lahat. Pati po ng mga warships so hanggang doon lang po tayo . Lahat naman po ay kaibigan ng Pilipinas, wala po tayong kalaban,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters in ambush interview in Manila.
(For me, this is just part of the freedom of navigation for everyone. This includes warships, and that is as far as we can go. Everyone is a friend of the Philippines, we don’t have enemies.)
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier of the US has been doing routine missions in the hotly contested South China Sea and made a port visit to Manila on Friday.
Rear Adm. John Fuller told reporters on board the aircraft carrier that the “US presence matters” in the disputed waterway.
Sought for comment if the US warship’s presence in the South China Sea would affect the relations of Manila with Beijing, Roque said the Philippines continues to improve ties with other countries not just the US.
“Ang sa amin po sa Palasyo, importante ang makipagkaibigan sa lahat hindi lang sa bansang Amerika, kundi sa bansang China, sa bansang Ruso, sa bansang India, lahat po ng bansa ng Southeast Asia,” he said.
(For us in the Palace, it is important to have allies with everyone, not just with America, but also in countries of China, Russia, India and other nations in Southeast Asia.)
China had earlier protested the “innocent passage” of a US warship near an artificial island in the disputed South China Sea.
China said the passage of the US passage violated Chinese and international laws, “seriously” impairing the country’s sovereignty and security.
But the Philippines defended the US warship’s innocent passage, saying “international law allows innocent passage even in territorial waters.” /jpv
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