PH warship crosses paths with China, Japan ships in Senkakus
A Philippine Navy warship en route to Russia crossed paths with Chinese and Japanese coast guard vessels in the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea early this week.
In a statement, the Navy said the BRP Tarlac (LD-601), which was on its way to Vladivostok in Russia for a port visit, spotted five foreign vessels around the Senkakus last Tuesday.
The Senkaku Islands is administered by Japan but is also claimed by China. Both nations appeared to have informed the Philippine vessel that it was sailing through their exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“The vessels were later identified as two Chinese and three Japanese coast guard ships. The coast guard vessels positioned both at the left and right side of BRP Tarlac following a parallel course,” the Navy said.
It was a Chinese vessel that first radioed the Philippine Navy ship, informing it that it was in China’s EEZ, and wished them a safe voyage. A similar call was made later by a Japanese vessel, it added.
Captain Estelito Lagadia Jr., commanding officer of BRP Tarlac, said there were also planes that flew overhead while they passed by.
“They called thru our radio stating that if we need any assistance, we can call them thru Channel 16, and I said thank you for your assistance. We are on our passage to Russia,” he said.
The vessels changed courses and separated ways in the northeast part of the islands.
The Navy said the incident demonstrated “the relevance of maintaining communications at sea and the Philippines’ good relations with the two countries.” /cbb
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