MANILAPresident Rodrigo Duterte has called on China to temper its behavior in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) amid reports that China warned Philippine military aircraft while flying over its man-made islands in the disputed region.
Duterte said that China should 'rethink' of warning other countries from flying the airspace above the artificial island China built in the WPS or South China Sea.
Well, they have to rethink that because that would be a flashpoint someday. And even you know, warning others. You cannot create an island. It's man-made and you say that the air above this artificial island is yours, Duterte said in his speech during the launching of the Go Negosyo's Pilipinas Angat Lahat program on Tuesday in MalacaAang Palace.
Last Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said an investigation will be conducted if the Chinese military has repeatedly ordered the Philippine military aircraft to leave immediately or you will bear responsibility for all the consequences.
The Chinese military also reportedly issued warning to the US military aircraft which also conducted over flights over the South China Sea.
The US military aircraft pilots have been told that China has sovereignty of the Nashan Islands, Spratlys including inaudible reef and its adjacent waters.
That is wrong because those waters are what would consider international sea and the right of innocent passage is guaranteed. It does not need any permission to sail through the open seas. And if it's nearby a territorial water, you guarantee what you would call the right of innocent passage, Duterte told his audience, which included US ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim.
So I hope that China would temper its - at least its behavior. I do not want to quarrel with China. But at this time, because you will create America instead of avoiding "get out, get out," China would say we go in, we go in, he added.
The Philippines-China relations have hugely improved under the Duterte administration with both countries taking steps not only to bolster economic and trade ties but to discuss contentious issues particularly territorial dispute in a peaceful manner.
Duterte had even temporarily shelved a 2016 arbitral tribunal's ruling that nullified China's nine-dash line map that covers nearly whole of South China in favor of friendly relations.
The Filipino leader, however, said he would raise the verdict of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) before his six-year term ends in 2022 despite China's rejection of the ruling.
So it's very clear that the gambit really is the China Sea. But one of these days I said before my term ends, I assure you that I will talk to them, Duterte said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency