Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he thinks China meant no harm when its warship pointed a radar gun at the Philippine Navy vessel in February 2020.
“Itong latest na radar gun eh ‘di naman siguro nila gustong saktan or harm our… parang ano lang ito sinusubukan lang nila kung ano ang reaction natin,” the secretary said at a Laging Handa press briefing on Tuesday.
(This latest radar gun [incident] doesn’t mean they want to harm us. It’s like they’re just trying to figure out what our reaction is.)
He added that Chinese ships challenging Philippine vessels in the disputed West Philippine Sea was common in the areas. Lorenzana believes China would not launch an attack on Philippine ships and aircrafts traveling the area.
“Sabi ko naman sa ating Navy at Air Force, hindi naman siguro nila papaputukan ng missiles ‘yung ating mga barko at eroplano. Ito lang ay katulad ng kanilang ginagawa tuwing tayo ay dadaan diyan sa West Philippine Sea within our EEZ at tsina-challenge tayo na ang sabi eh ‘You are traversing Chinese territory,'” Lorenzana said.
(I already told our Navy and Air Force, maybe they would not fire missiles on our ships and planes. This is like what they usually do when we pass through the West Philippine Sea within our EEZ and they are challenging us saying: ‘You are traversing Chinese territory.’)
“Ang sinasagot naman ng ating barko at eroplano ay ‘we are traversing within our EEZ.’ So sagutan lang ng sagutan ang mga ‘yan. Every time na dumaan ang ating barko at eroplano, nagkakaroon ng ganyang exchange,” he added.
(Our ships and planes answer ‘we are traversing within our EEZ.’ So just answer those questions. Every time our ships and planes go through, there is such an exchange.)
The Defense Secretary, however, admitted that the pointing of the radar gun toward the Philippine ship was “offensive.”
“It’s offensive also bakit kailangan nilang itutok ‘yung kanilang acquisition radars sa ating eroplano o barko,” he said.
(It’s offensive also, why do they need to point their acquisition radars on our plane and ship.)
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday filed two diplomatic protests against China over its recent activities in the West Philippine Sea that violated both international law and Philippine sovereignty.
“At 5:17 pm today the Chinese embassy received 2 diplomatic protests: 1. on the pointing of a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship in Philippine waters and 2. declaring parts of Philippine territory as part of Hainan province,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. wrote on Twitter.