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‘Two Chinese survey ships sailed in PH’

The Palace on Thursday said the government will file a diplomatic protest against China if it is proven that their survey ships did not seek permission to sail in the country’s territorial waters.

Recently, two Chinese survey ships were found to have sailed within the Philippines’ EEZ.

In a series of tweets, Ryan Martinson of the China Maritime Studies Institute at the US Naval War College posted photos of Chinese ships and their track.

The first ship, Zhang Jian, “has been operating” east of the country since Aug. 3, Martinson said. Between Aug. 5 and 6, it came as close as 75 nautical miles from Siargao island.

The Chinese oceanographic survey ship “Zhanjian” was completed in 2016 and is described as a “far sea survey ship” that has a fixed scientific research staff of some 40 persons, according to Chinese marine research vessels.

Martinson tweeted on Wednesday that another oceanographic research vessel of China called Dong Fang Hong 3 has been found northwest of the Philippines. The closest it got was Ilocos Norte, according to the map that Martinson posted.

Presidential Spokesman Panelo said he is still waiting for the confirmation of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon if those survey ships had been granted permission to be there.

“It is always a concern of this government if the security of the state is threatened or endangered,” he said.

Earlier, other Chinese vessels were also found within Philippine waters without permission.

Four Chinese Navy ships transited Balabac Strait in Palawan in June, ignoring radio warnings.

Some Chinese warships have also crossed Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi four times since February without informing Philippine officials.

A Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning passed also passed the strait in June.

Earlier, the Philippines had filed a diplomatic protest against China over the presence of Chinese fishing vessels stationed near Pag-asa Island in February and July.

Article 246 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, of which China is a signatory, states that marine scientific research can be conducted in EEZs if permission is granted by the coastal state.

In his fifth visit to China, President Rodrigo Duterte said he will raise the creation of the binding code of conduct between the claimants in the South China Sea.

China has been “delaying” the creation of the code that will outline the peaceful resolution of maritime disputes, President Duterte said in a chance interview Thursday.

In 2002, ASEAN member countries and China signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea to avoid tensions and to resolve maritime disputes peacefully.

The parties have yet to craft a binding code of conduct more than 16 years since the declaration was approved.

“We would talk about what’s the situation in the China Sea or West Philippine Sea, I’d like to call it. Everything. And why is the Code of Conduct not yet crafted,” Duterte said.

“It’s becoming a very big issue. I do not want trouble for my country but whether we like it or not, however, on which side you are, it would not be good for my country to be in a state of violence,” he said.

Duterte also said the delay in the creation of the code is “causing so many incidents.”

“They are delaying it and it’s causing so many incidents and one day it will...One mistake, a miscalculation there, it will be difficult to resolve,” he said.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea but it is being disputed by other ASEAN members including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei.

In the Senate, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros sought a congressional investigation into a reported plan to develop three islands with the help of Chinese investors, given its maritime and security implications.

Hontiveros wants the Senate to investigate the strategic security implications of the developments by foreigners of Fuga, Grande and Chiquita Islands, as well as the property formerly known as Island Cove Resort.

Meanwhile, Senator Joel Villanueva agreed with the Chinese ambassador that the Philippine government should work closely with China in combatting gambling, and gambling-related crimes.

Earlier this week, Villanueva, chairman of the Senate labor committee, said they filed a resolution seeking an inquiry in aid of legislation on the influx of illegal foreign workers, especially in POGOs, and the impact of POGOs or Philippine Offshore Gambling Operations on the country’s economy, job generation efforts, peace and order, among other concerns.   

READ: ‘Study security implications of Chinese presence in Subic, Fuga Isle’

READ: Now’s the time: Rody to invoke arbitral ruling

READ: Tit-for-tat: PH visas on China visitors’ passports okayed

Topics: Chinese survey ships , Ryan Martinson , China Maritime Studies Institute , Zhang Jian
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