National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said he does not think that it is necessary for Philippines to lodge a protest against China’s landing of bombers in Woody Island in Paracel Islands.
China, Taiwan, and Vietnam are all claiming Paracels.
“Are we suppose to be alarmed by the landing of [Chinese] bombers in Woody Island [part of Paracel Islands]. Woody Island is about 958 kilometers from Manila,” Esperon said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum on May 30.
“In other words it is not within our territory. It has been occupied by China since 1974 and has become operational since about 2014. It is just off the [Chinese] province of Haianan.” he added. “But bombers have a range of about 1900 kilometers, so abot tayo.”
Secretary Esperon explained that with the said range of Chinese bombers even if launched from Hong Kong will still reach Philippines.
“Ang question, kung mangagaling ba sa Hong Kong or any parts of China, edi pareho din maaabot tayo because we are 1200 kilometers from Hong Kong [to] Manila. In other words, not to defend that landing there, it is an incident that is part of a drill for landing. But the purpose of that must be looked into, it is exactly training,” he said.
“Are we the target? Should we be alarmed? I do not think so because we are not at war with China and we are not at war of course with ASEAN,” he added. “So shall we lodge a protest against that? Shall we? Palagay ko hindi.”