Palace says coast guard drove away Chinese ship from West Philippine Sea
The coast guard last week drove a Chinese ship away from the West Philippine Sea, Malacañang said on Monday.
BRP Cabra was returning to its base in El Nido, Palawan, when it spotted the Chinese vessel near the Louisa Reef on July 13 around 4:30 p.m., said Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
"Very politely naman daw, they (Chinese) were asked to leave the area," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
"Ito po ay nagpapatunay na ‘pag may presensya ang ating coast guard, napoprotektahan ang ating Exclusive Economic Zone at territorial seas," added the official.
(That proves when our coast guard has presence there, our Exclusive Economic Zone and territorial seas are protected.)
A separate statement by the Philippine Coast Guard said the vessel monitored by the BRP Cabra in the vicinity of Marie Louise Bank, which is 147 nautical miles from El Nido, was Chinese Navy Warship 189.
It did not respond to the initial radio challenge by the Philippine vessel, and only started to move away after another verbal challenge was coursed through the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), the PCG said.
BRP Cabra tailed the Chinese ship to ensure it leaves the Philippines' EEZ.
The BRP Cabra last June 30 also sent away Vietnamese and Chinese ships from the area. Two months ago, it shooed 7 alleged Chinese maritime militia ships near Puerto Princesa, Palawan, said Roque.
"Regular po ang pagbabantay at matagumpay naman po," he said.
(Patrols are regular and successful.)
Beijing snubs a 5-year-old arbitral ruling by a United Nations-backed court that junked its historical rights to almost the entire South China Sea, within which is the smaller West Philippine Sea.
Brunei, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia also have claims to the South China Sea.
President Rodrigo Duterte has refused to press China to follow the ruling, as he pursued investments and loans from the economic superpower.
In May, Duterte called the arbitral award a scrap of "paper" that belongs to the wastebasket. But that same month, he said he would not withdraw Philippine ships from the waterway.
"Hindi tayo mamimigay ng teritoryo, pero hindi natin sisirain ang pagkakaibigan sa bansang Tsina na ating kaptibahay dahil lang po sa hindi nareresolba pag-aagawan ng teritoryo," Roque said of the President's foreign policy.
(We will not give away any territory, but we will not ruin our friendship with China, our neighbor, just because of the unresolved territorial dispute.)