MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. on Friday instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs (ASPAC) to check on reports that a Chinese survey vessel is currently near Reed or Recto Bank within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.
Reacting to a tweet by Indo-Pacific News @indopac_info, Locsin said he remembers a permit has been issued to a US survey ship and a French one.
"I know there was permission for a US survey ship, then a French one though I can't remember when that was from the undiminishing pile of sheets on my table. @DFAPHL ASPAC check on this,” Locsin said.
Indo-Pacific News @indopac_info reported that the vessel “XIANG YANG HONG 14 had departed from China on July 22, and arrived in the Reed Bank on August 6.”
“No opposition from the PH coast guard so far, as usual,” it added.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said the Philippines would not join navies of other countries in maritime drills in the West Philippine Sea for fear of raising tension in the area, citing a standing order by President Rodrigo Duterte.