DND says there are recent Chinese militia vessel sightings, incursions in WPS
MANILA, Philippines — There have been recent sightings and incursions of Chinese militia vessels in the contested areas in the West Philippine Sea, Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge Jose Faustino Jr. said on Thursday.
In a press briefing, Faustino said this has already been coordinated with the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea on how to address these incursions.
“There have been there for quite some time. I don’t have the exact right now but I can provide you with the figure,” he said.
“Right now, we have sightings of some particularly Chinese militia vessels and some of the Chinese Coast Guards in the contested areas,” Faustino added.
He said that while President “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. did not have any direct instruction regarding the incursions, he is “being guided by his pronouncements.”
“It is specific pronouncements about how we deal with China, particularly on matters involving avenues than the conflict that we are discussing here at the West Philippine Sea, so more on economic and some, he even mentioned about the possibility of a military to military exchange with China,” Faustino said.
“Our sovereignty is inviolable and we have to protect our territorial integrity so that’s it, from those lines, the President, we will toe the line kung ano yung kanyang mga statement regarding the West Philippine Sea,” he added.
Faustino also said that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) had a recent “communication” with the Chinese Coast Guard.
“We also challenge the Chinese kung lumapit sila sa atin, so it’s like parang nagbabatuhan tayo ng challenges diyan sa areas na ‘yan and the good thing about it was, mayroon nang communication from our Coast Guard to the Chinese Coast Guard,” he said.
(We also challenge the Chinese if they approach us, so it’s like we’re answering challenges there in those areas and the good thing about it, there was already communication from our Coast Guard to the Chinese Coast Guard.)
“‘Pag lumapit tayo they challenge us, ‘pag lumapit sila we challenge them also, so you know sa atin, ang sinasabi natin teritoryo namin ito, sa lugar na ito ‘yan ang sinasagot namin sa mga challenges ng China,” he added.
(When we approach, they challenge us, when they approach us, we challenge them also, so you know, what we are saying is this is our territory, we answer the challenges of China.)
In June, the Department of Foreign Affairs filed a new diplomatic protest over the return of more than 100 Chinese vessels “illegally operating in the waters in and around” Julian Felipe Reef.
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