Philippines not informed by China of marine research ships
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Philippine government was not informed about a reported maritime research activity conducted by the two Chinese ships within the country's territorial waters.
"No, as far as I'm concerned. I've talked to ( National Security Adviser) Sec. ( Hermogenes) Esperon there were no information regarding their visit to our EEZ (exclusive economic zone)," Lorenzana said on Friday when asked in a television interview if the Chinese asked permission.
Lorenzana explained there is no need for China to ask permission but they should at least inform the Philippines if their ship is passing or entering territorial waters.
"If they are on peaceful research, you know the water is flowing from one place to another and maybe they were just trying to study the waters or the fish because the fish are migratory. And I think they can do that. but they should inform us what they are doing there," he said.
"Not really ask for permission because that is peaceful. It's just like innocent passage but it's like going through and making research. They just have to inform us what they are doing, what they will do there and what kind of ship is this," he added.
Lorenzana said the Philippine government should ask the Chinese embassy to explain.
"The action that I would like our government to do is to inform or ask the Chinese embassy what these ships are doing in our EEZ without our knowledge," he said.
"I think nobody is prevented from doing their research as long as we know what kind of research they are doing there. If you remember, about last year or 2 years ago, the French ship came here also to research but they asked permission from us," said Lorenzana.
"All that we asking from China is to inform us what they are doing so that we will know what really is their purpose in coming to our EEZ," he added.
Lorenzana also mentioned what the Chinese do may become a risk to national security.
"If the intention is only to study the sea or fish or the marine life, then it is not a security threat but if they are doing other things like making surveillance of our positions then it's different," he said. Robina Asido/DMS