Locsin: Chinese vessel that sought refuge in PH waters never intruded

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2021 03:06 AM

PH won't join West stance on Myanmar, says Locsin

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Thursday said the Chinese vessel that recently sought refuge in Philippine waters due to bad weather “never intruded.”

“TY Senate Foreign Relations, now cleared up: Chinese vessel never intruded; enter our territory seeking refuge even as China asked permission; Coast Guard never attempted to board because it is illegal to try; Chinese vessel left right after storm passed. No intrusion. Period,” Locsin said.

Locsin on Tuesday said the DFA did not give a permit to Chinese survey vessel Jia Geng, which was sighted in Philippine waters but that it was allowed to seek shelter due to bad weather. 

In a tweet, Locsin stressed that the Philippine Coast Guard “has zero authority/competence to allow it.”

Locsin added the request for shelter was made on Saturday, “before any report of intrusion why it was an emergency.”

Citing information from the DFA Maritime and Ocean Affairs Office (MOAO), Locsin later clarified that the Philippine Embassy in Beijing reported on January 28, Thursday, a phoned-in request to allow the Chinese marine research vessel to take wind shelter in Cabugao Bay. On Friday, the Chinese Embassy sent a note verbale with the same request. 

“They were in PH EEZ on Wed27Jan,” Locsin said. 

“DFA never gave permission to Jia Geng. For humanitarian reasons DFA okayed the emergency Chinese embassy request for shelter against bad weather. Request for shelter; not permission to stay and be watched. Period,” Locsin said. 

The Philippine Coast Guard on Monday said the Chinese survey ship that took shelter for several days in Philippine waters has left.

The Chinese Embassy on Monday described as sensationalism reports about the entry of the survey ship into Philippine waters as an “intrusion,” saying it sought clearance and humanitarian assistance from the Philippine government to shelter in Philippine waters “due to unfavorable weather and sea conditions in the Pacific where they are scheduled to conduct research mission.”
 
“The ship has sought clearance and humanitarian assistance from the Philippine government and maintained communication with its relevant authorities all the time. Under UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and international customary law, every coastal state is obliged to provide necessary humanitarian assistance to save life at sea. It is a fact that China and the Philippines have been rendering assistance to each other on many similar humanitarian occasions,” the Chinese Embassy said in a statement. 

The Embassy issued the statement when asked about the presence of the Chinese survey ship in Catanduanes. 

Meanwhile, Locsin also clarified that the “wait and see attitude” adopted by the Philippines on the developments in Myanmar was his and not President Rodrigo Duterte’s.

Locsin said Duterte would “blow his top” for detained Aung San Suu Kyi. 

Locsin added that he would not join the the West, who he said “destroyed Suu Kyi and left her defenseless before the Army.”

“Also cleared up: wait and see attitude on Myanmar is my call not Duterte's who'd otherwise blow his top for a personal friend, Suu Kyi. You got a problem with that, see me. Meanwhile I will not join the West which destroyed Suu Kyi and left her defenseless before the Army,” Locsin said in a tweet. 

The DFA issued a statement on Tuesday saying the Philippine government “is following with deep concern the developing situation in Myanmar, and is especially concerned with the safety of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.”

“Myanmar has made substantial and important strides toward democratization in recent years. The Philippines has supported these efforts,” the DFA said, without condemning the military coup.

Governments in the European Union, the United Nations Secretary General, and United States President Joe Biden have issued statements condemning the coup. 

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