“A true friend doesn’t sneak into a neighbor’s territory with 5 warships, deliberately concealing identification and turning around only when detected unless there is malevolent intention,” Senator Ping Lacson said in a Twitter post after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) released photos of Chinese warships that sailed in southern Philippines last July and early August.
“Mutual respect defines true friendship,” the senator added.
AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said on August 15 that “our Navy flew over these vessels and apparently noticing that we have found out their presence in our country, resumed the normal course which is supposed to be one of the innocent passage as against the course that they are taking.”
“The moment that they learned that our government through our Armed Forces had taken notice of their presence, they left the area and they left our territory and headed to the direction outside of our country,” he added.
“If they are conducting researches or surveillance, that may not necessarily be known to us because in the first place their moves are intended to be discreet,” the AFP spokesperson noted.
“The fact is they did not seek any clearance or diplomatic clearance before entering our country, our waters,” Brigadier General Arevalo said.