MANILA – President Benigno Aquino III is concerned over the presence of at least two ''hydrographic ships'' near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.
In an interview with TV5, Aquino cited a military report that the Chinese ships were seen near the area.
"Kamakailan pinadalhan tayo ng report ng AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), kung saan merong dalawang-ang tawag nila 'hydrographic ships' na nandoon, na-sight ho sa tinatawag nating Recto Bank,'' he said
It is unclear when the vessels arrived there. The president expressed hope this would not lead to increased tensions between Manila and Beijing.
He added Recto Bank is well within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
''Iyung Recto Bank ho, paalala lang, 80 nautical miles ho mula sa Palawan so, maliwanag na doon po sa tinatawag nating 'exclusive economic zone.' Anong ginagawa nila diyan, anong studies nila? Sana hindi nagbabadya ito ng mas-yung may dagdag na naman o panibagong tensyon naman sa ating dalawa."
The president noted that Chinese incursions into Philippine waters have not stopped despite Manila's efforts to reach a peaceful resolution to the territorial dispute. – ANC