Malacañang doesn’t see something unsuitable with the United States’ exercise of its freedom of navigation in the Spratlys Group of Islands in the South China Sea.
“We don’t find it objectionable,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella mentioned at a press briefing Friday (August 11) in response to the crusing of the USS John S. McCain close to the Mischief Reef.
Abella mentioned even Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana doesn’t discover any drawback with the “presumed innocent passage” of the American destroyer on Thursday (August 10).
Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla mentioned anybody can exercise freedom of navigation in the South China Sea so long as it’s in accordance with worldwide legal guidelines.
“So, we just need to monitor. And as long as it is within the bounds set forth by international law, then it is all right,” he mentioned.
“Anyone can do it. So any navy, any merchant ship can ply these routes. They can pass and claim innocent passage,” Padilla added.
China has slammed the US over the US destroyer’s passage because it claims indisputab;e sovereignty over Spratlys, which it calls Nansha Islands.
“The Chinese military is firmly opposed to such flaunting of force and promotion of militarization in the region by the US, which could easily trigger accidents at sea and in the air,” the Chinese Defense Ministry mentioned.