No US explanation for disguised aircraft—Esperon
The Philippine government has asked the United States Embassy in Manila for comment on why a US Air Force plane was allegedly disguised as a Philippine aircraft while flying over the Yellow Sea, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said on Thursday.
But Esperon said the government has yet to get a response from the US Embassy.
“We have no update yet. We have yet to get the reaction of the US Embassy. But it is important to ask them and caution them or inform them if they have not known about it that their pilots have been using the codes that belong to Philippine aircraft,” he said in an online press briefing.
A report by the South China Morning Post quoting the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative said a US spy plane used the aircraft identification code assigned to the Philippines while flying over the Yellow Sea last week.
Esperon said the US pilots were probably testing the reaction of China when it disguised its aircraft as a Philippine plane.
“The pilots are probably trying to test the reaction that would come from China and so the Chinese reacted. It came out in the news, in the open,” he said.
“The possibilities are they could be trying really the capacity of China … just imagine the incident happened in the Yellow Sea, which is between Korea and China. It is an area where we don’t usually go, we stay within, usually within our domain, air and maritime domain for our patrols, we do not go to the Yellow Sea for surveillance or anything,” he added.
Esperon said the incident could “incriminate” the Philippines.
“If you’re an operator, a technician and you notice that a Philippine code comes to the area, then all the more that it brings out your suspicion. What could happen really is it can implicate or incriminate the Philippine side. That is why we simply have to remind the United States counterparts of the implications of this,” he said.
“It is something that must be discussed, nonetheless, we hope this could be settled satisfactorily between the parties,” he added.