‘Chinese ships go away perhaps to avoid confrontation’

22-Jul-2021 Intellasia | Philstar | 5:02 AM Print This Post

It is now easier to drive away Chinese vessels from the West Philippine Sea because China is avoiding confrontations in the area.

President Duterte, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and presidential spokesman Harry Roque think so, after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) was able to make a Chinese Navy warship leave Philippine waters last week.

The Chinese military vessel was spotted at the Marie Louise Bank just 147 nautical miles from El Nido, Palawan on July 13, prompting the PCG’s BRP Cabra to communicate with it and ask the foreign vessel to sail out of the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

In his televised talk Monday night, Duterte asked Lorenzana why it now seems easy to ask Chinese vessels to leave the West Philippine Sea.

“Bakit madali silang mapaalis (Why do they easily agree to go away)? Are they avoiding any confrontation, or parang (maybe) goodwill or there’s something afoot, we really do not know kasi madali mapaalis ngayon (because it’s easy to send them away now),” Duterte said.

He noted that there were similar incidents in the past wherein the Chinese vessels “readily agreed to the suggestion of the Coast Guard to move away from the territorial waters.”

Lorenzana, responding to the question, raised two possible reasons. “I suspect they agreed to leave because they were so close to Palawan and that is already not contested, that is ours, that is one,” he said.

“Secondly, it seems they don’t want to create an incident there involving their naval ship because they are using a naval ship while we are using a civilian ship of the coast guard. So those are probably the reasons why they do not want to have a confrontation and they leave instead,” Lorenzana added.

But Roque thinks good relations between the Philippines and China is a factor.

“Mayor, if I may add, maybe it has to do with our good relations with China now, which they do not want to disrupt as well. So when they realise that they are so near Palawan already and need to go, they go when asked to leave,” Roque said.

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2021/07/21/2113949/chinese-ships-go-away-perhaps-avoid-confrontation

 

Category: Philippines

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