The Philippines was not informed of a Chinese warship passing through its waters in the past months.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that Chinese military ships passed through Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi since February.
“They should inform us that they will pass through but they did not,” Lorenzana told reporters, as seen in a video posted by radio dzMM.
The Defense chief said he talked to Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua about the warships when they met at President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address last Monday.
“He (Zhao) said that in the future, we will require those ships to inform the Chinese Embassy in Manila about intended passage in Sibutu and then inform us,” Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana clarified that China would not need permission if it is for commercial shipping as they are allowed to do so by virtue of the principle of innocent passage.
Beijing still needs to inform Manila if their warships will pass through Philippine waters, the secretary said.
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justoce Antonio Carpio earlier told reporters that Chinese aircraft carrier CV-16 Liaoning passed through Sibutu Strait a few weeks ago.
Carpio pointed out that the Sibutu Strait is within the country’s territorial waters.
The senior magistrate said this shows China’s “double standard” as it denies access to Filipino ships passing through the West Philippine Sea.
CV-16 Liaoning is the first aircraft carrier commissioned into the People’s Liberation Army Navy.