MANILA, Philippines - China will violate international law if it will board and search foreign ships passing through the West Philippine Sea, a top Philippine military official said Thursday.
"That cannot be," said Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban, commander of the Armed Forces Western Command (Wescom).
Chinese media have reported of China's alleged plan to board and search foreign ships entering the territory that country is claiming.
"That's too much. While we are exerting all peaceful means, that is what they are doing," Sabban said.
He said the Philippines has regular Coast Guard and Navy patrols to protect vessels passing through the West Philippine Sea.
A Palace official on Thursday said either the Chinese Foreign Ministry or the Chinese embassy in Manila should clarify the issue.
"Instead of asking the Philippine government to comment on a position taken by a local Chinese government official, perhaps the press should ask the Chinese Foreign Ministry or the Chinese Embassy here and confirm if that is also the position they are adopting," said Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.