Chinese warships' entry considered as trespassing: AFP
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) considers the passage of Chinese warships in the country's territorial waters as incursion or trespassing.
"That is the requirement that we ask of them to obtain diplomatic clearance before they pass through but since they did not observe this then definitely these are incursions and these are trespassing in a sense, in our territorial waters because had it been observing the doctrine of innocent passage and it has complied to specific requirements then it would have not been considered as such," Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman, told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo Thursday.
Arevalo said based on their assessment Chinese warships monitored within territorial waters may be conducting surveillance or research.
"As we were saying we do not know really what they are up to but it could be that they... may be conducting surveillance or they may be conducting studies or surveys which is something that would need an agreement or a process with which they have to undertake before they could perform such actions," he said.
"It was not in a manner hostile because according to the same report that I cited the moment that they learned that our government through our armed forces has taken notice of their presence,. they left the area and they left our territory and headed to the direction outside of our country,, he added.
Arevalo said since the action of the Chinese warship is considered not hostile it is "sufficient" the armed forces were able to monitor their presence.
"We feel that it is sufficient that we were able to monitor them, report their presence, make them feel and understand that we saw them, that we have monitored them and in a manner we have established our sovereignty and authority by flying over them and making our process known," he added. Robina Asido/DMS