Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua on Tuesday, Independence Day, downplayed the landing of a Chinese military aircraft at the Davao International Airport over the weekend, stressing that all standard protocols in the Philippines were followed.
“Well it’s your protocols we have followed. Now we have applied through your agencies, through your militaries, DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) for the landing,” Zhao told reporters in a chance interview during the Independence Day rites at Kawit, Cavite.
Zhao explained that the landing was done for a “very simple” reason, which was for refueling, since it was on its way to New Zealand for a bilateral military exercise.
He pointed out that all foreign jets, including civilian or military, would not be allowed to land in Philippine territory without following protocols and procedures.
“If you do not allow the Chinese there to land or fly over your airspace, we are not there to do that because you might shoot them down,” he added.
The Chinese envoy further said that he was “puzzled” and “surprised” that the landing caused a stir among lawmakers including Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.
Lacson earlier said that if the government allowed Chinese military planes to land in the country, it was acting like a province of China rather than an independent and sovereign state.
“I’m really puzzled and even surprised that some of the people here [are] taking the landing of Chinese military jets as a kind of military threat to the Philippines,” Zhao said.
Zhao allayed fears that the landing of the Chinese military plane might be the beginning of China’s invasion.
“Please allow me to be blunt, it’s nonsense,” Zhao said, stressing the friendly relationship between the Philippines and China.
“We have never thought of going to war with our good neighbor, our good friend that is the Philippines,” Zhao said. PNA