China survey vessel in PH waters? Not until AFP says so – Locsin

Sofia Tomacruz
China survey vessel in PH waters? Not until AFP says so – Locsin
'That's not happening until I hear from the Armed Forces,' says Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr of the reported presence of a Chinese vessel in the country's exclusive economic zone

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said on Wednesday, Augsust 7, that he would only rely on military information and recommendations before confirming if a Chinese oceanographic survey vessel was operating off the east coast of the Philippines.

Locsin made the statement in response to the tweet of Ryan Martinson, an assistant professor at the China Maritime Studies Institute of the US Naval War College, that the Chinese oceanographic survey ship Zhanjian operated some 80 nautical miles off the east coast of the Philippines.

Martinson tweeted about the Chinese vessel and posted photos of it on Tuesday night, August 6. (LOOK: Chinese survey ship found operating in PH waters)

“That’s not happening until I hear from the Armed Forces,” Locsin tweeted in response.

He added, “Because of the prevalence and proclivity of civilians to lie about anything, Philippine foreign affairs in my watch is the first in the iron glove of the Armed Forces and relies only on military info and recommendations.”

 

Locsin made this statement after Twitter use citizennacho commented on Martinson’s post asking if the distance from the Philippine coast was roughly 125 kilometers or within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

According to Greg Poling, one of the world’s leading experts on the South China Sea, it is crucial to know what kind of survey the Chinese vessel was doing and whether or not it had the Philippine government’s permission.

If the vessel was undertaking a scientific survey, it must request permission from Manila under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to which both the Philippines and China are signatories.

Poling added that the Chinese vessel might also have been doing “bathymetric surveys” throughout the western Pacific, which map seafloor and water conditions for submarine activities.

The oceanograhic survey ship’s presence in Philippine waters comes after reports of several other Chinese vessels were found in or passing through Philippine waters without prior notice to Philippine authorities. – Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.