The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) has released photos of Chinese PLA Navy warships passing through Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi in July and this month.
WESTMINCOM commanding general Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the passage can be considered not hostile but not innocent.
“Ang innocent passage, kasi, following the sea lanes of communications, straight line,” he said. “Pagka medyo nag-korba ka, that is no longer considered as innocent passage.”
The top military official in western Mindanao described the ships as “warship in general term, reconnaissance, basta armed ’yun, armed.”
“Since nakita ’yung presence natin agad naman silang umiwas, lumalabas sa teritorya ng ating bansa,” he said.