Navy chief says he feels Chinese vessels provoking them to fire first shot
Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Bacordo said Chinese vessels are provoking the Philippines to fire the first shot but they will not.
“The way I analyze it, in our dispute in that area, the first one to fire the shot becomes the loser. They will do everything for us to take aggressive action. But we have to be patient with that. I'm sure they want us to take the first shot but we will not," he said in a virtual forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines on Monday.
Bacordo said any navy who will fire the first shot will lose support from the international community.
"Any navy who fires the first shot in that area will lose international support. That includes all the navies patrolling in that area," he said.
“We have to exercise maximum tolerance. There are some activities… that once you do it, you can no longer take it back, and that is firing the first shot," said Bacordo.
Our option is diplomatic protest. Options that may lead to armed confrontation should be avoided," he added
During the forum, Bacordo recalled the incident in West Philippine Sea where the Chinese ship pointed its fire control system against the Philippine Navy corvette, BRP Conrado Yap last February.
Bacordo did not say how many Chinese vessels are in the West Philippine Sea but he confirmed that when their vessels leave, other ship takes over.
"I don't have the exact figures. I just have some general formula like for example in Scarborough Shoal at any time there are three China Coast Guard vessels and three fishing boats. In Subi Reef or what we call the Zamora reef at any time there are one grey ship, three Coast Guard vessels and several China fishing vessels but right now I don't have the exact (number)," he said.
"In Mischief Reef at any time again, there are two CCG (Chinese Coast Guard) vessels and several fishing vessels. That is normally the trend,,, whenever they leave, newer vessels takes over, it's like a guard," Bacordo added. Robina Asido/DMS