Duterte discussed Chinese warships intrusion with Xi, says Lorenzana
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte brought up with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping the unauthorized presence of its warships in Philippine waters, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Wednesday.
Xi said, however, that international law does not require ships sailing through other waters to get permission, he told reporters.
“He reassured PRRD (President Rodrigo Duterte) that their naval ships are not coercing or targeting the Philippines,” he said.
Duterte was on a five-day visit to China last week, his fifth since he became President in 2016. The West Philippine Sea was among the issues discussed by the two leaders.
The defense and military establishment have earlier raised concerns over the intrusions of Chinese warships in Philippine waters for at least 12 instances since January.
They said that China should give prior notice before passing through Philippine waters, like how other foreign nations comply to their requirement. They also questioned how the Chinese vessels switch off their automatic identification system (AIS) and disregard radio challenges.
“I am not saying that they are up to no good, but why the secrecy? Why turn off your AIS and refuse to acknowledge the challenges from Philippine law enforcement agencies? With all these developments we in the defense sector are very much alarmed,” Lorenzana said last month.
The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier filed protests over the unauthorized passages of Chinese vessels.
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