Lorenzana tells China to respect maritime laws after ‘Aura’ incident
MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said China should respect international maritime laws after a Chinese warship tried to stop a Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned oil tanker with an all-Filipino crew from passing near Scarborough Shoal, or Bajo de Masinloc.
“The Chinese government must respect international maritime laws if it wants to earn the respect of the international community,” Lorenzana said in a statement on Sunday.
On Sept. 30, the Green Aura was going to China from Thailand through the West Philippine Sea (WPS) when it was warned by a Chinese warship against passing near the disputed waters.
However, Lorenzana also reminded other countries to observe “prudence and respect freedom of navigation and passage” in the WPS.
Lorenzana noted that Bajo de Masinloc is within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone and the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration declared it as a common fishing area.
He also assured the public that the Green Aura had reached its intended port of destination safely.
He also said the incident should not be “sensationalized” or “blown out of proportion.”
The report of the official incident was sent to the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea for appropriate action, Lorenzana said.