MANILA—A maritime law expert on Friday reposted an image of the supposed route that Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning traversed in Philippine waters last month.
Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines’ Institute for Maritime Studies and Law of the Sea, used an image from a Japanese analyst showing Liaoning passing through Sibutu Strait from Japan on June 20.
The strait is a key waterway at the southern tip of Tawi-Tawi.
Taiwanese news website Xiongmao Times also published an image containing a similar route.
"Based on various reports, it passed through the Miyako Straits (Japan) on June 11, proceeded to the Pacific to conduct exercises, then went south to re-enter the (South China Sea) through the southern (Philippine) straits," Batongbacal said.
"Continued exercise in the Spratly Islands region, before going back north to its home port in Qingdao. Possibly related to the recent Chinese ASBM missile test conducted a couple of weeks ago."
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday said Chinese warships passed through Sibutu Strait but denied allegations made by Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that Liaoning was one of the ships.
Batongbacal said that under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), there is nothing illegal about the passage of the Liaoning should it be true.
But he said there seems to be a "double standard," because Beijing wants to be informed about warships passing through their waters.
“Sila gusto nila na nagpapaalam sa kanila ang sasakyan-pandigma bago pumasok sa katubigan nila, pero sila mismo, hindi nagpapaalam kapag sila ang pumapasok," he said.
(China wants foreign warships to inform it before passing through its waters, but Chinese warships do not inform other nations when they traverse their waters.)
"Pangalawa, sa Pilipinas naman, mukhang nangyari ito, dumaan sila sa katubigan natin, nang hindi natin agad namalayan. Malinaw na mayroon tayong 'blind spots' sa mga daanan sa ating arkipelago."
(Secondly, on the part of our country, the ships seemed to pass through our waters without us knowing. Clearly we have "blind spots" in our waters.) —Report from Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News