DND chief says Chinese warship aiming guns at PH vessel could just be a ‘test’ of Philippine reaction
MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy may have just been testing Philippine reaction when a Chinese warship aimed its weapons at a Philippine Navy ship in Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Tuesday (April 28).
“Parang ano lang ito, sinusubukan lang nila kung ano ang reaksyon natin. (It’s like they are just testing what our reaction would be),” Lorenzana said at an online press briefing.
A Chinese corvette readied its gun control director at BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39) near Rizal (Commodore) Reef in the West Philippine Sea in mid-February.
The incident was belatedly reported to the public last week when the Philippine government filed a diplomatic protest against China.
Lorenzana said the Chinese may have no intention of hurting the sailors aboard the Philippine Navy ship, although he described it as “medyo (a bit) offensive.”
“Sabi ko naman sa ating mga Navy at saka Air Force ay parang ang katulad nyan hindi naman siguro nila papuputukan ng missile yung ating mga barko at saka eroplano,” he said.
(I told our Navy and Air Force that just like that, I doubt they would fire missiles at our ships and planes.)
“Ito lang ay katulad ng kanilang ginagawa tuwing tayo ay dadaan diyan sa West Philippine Sea within our EEZ at tsina-challenge tayo na ang sabi eh ‘You are traversing Chinese territory,’” he explained.
(This is similar to what they do every time we pass by the West Philippine Sea within our EEZ and we are challenge by the message ‘You are traversing Chinese territory.)
“Ang sinasagot naman ng ating barko at eroplano ay ‘we are traversing within our EEZ.’ So sagutan lang ng sagutan ang mga ‘yan. Every time na dumaan ang ating barko at eroplano, nagkakaroon ng ganyang exchange,” he said.
(Our ships and planes answer ‘we are traversing within our EEZ. So they just exchange messages. Every time our ships or planes pass by, there’s that kind of exchange,” he said.)
The Western Command in Palawan province, the military unit in charge of the West Philippine Sea, called the February action by the Chinese warship as a “a hostile act on the part of the Chinese government.”