Duterte tells China to
President Rodrigo Duterte has urged China to "temper" its behavior in the disputed South China Sea.
In a speech in Malacanang on Tuesday, Duterte said it was wrong for Beijing to shoo away other aircraft or vessels in an open sea, like in the South China Sea.
"You cannot create an island. It's man-made and you say that the air above this artificial island is yours. That is wrong because those waters are...what would consider international sea," he said.
Duterte said the right of innocent passage is guaranteed in open seas.
"It does not need any permission to sail through the open seas. And if it's nearby a territorial water, you guarantee what you would call the right of innocent passage. So I hope that China would temper its --- at least its behavior," he stressed.
Duterte, who decided to take a softer and friendly stance with China, however, was quick to say that he was not quarreling with Beijing.
Earlier news reports said that a Philippine aircraft was shooed away by the Chinese Navy while flying in the South China Sea.
During the surveillance flight of P-8A Poseidon aircraft of the US Navy over the Spratly Islands last Friday, it overheard China's message to the Philippine aircraft, which was also conducting a flight in its exclusive economic zone.
A voice from the Chinese reportedly warned the Filipinos they have to leave immediately or they would bear responsibility for all the consequences.
The warning that was given to the Filipinos was not polite compared to when the Chinese made a similar warning to the US aircraft, news reports said.
The Philippines and China are engaged in territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Celerina Monte/DMS