Philippines does not need Chinese permission to operate at Bajo de Masinloc — DFA
November 2, 2023 | 1:05pm
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines does not need to seek approval from another country to operate in its territorial sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday.
The statement comes after the Chinese military decried the passing and operation of the Philippine Navy vessel BRP Conrado Yap inside the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on October 30.
“The Philippines’ conduct of maritime patrols in the waters around Bajo de Masinloc is a legitimate and routine act of a sovereign country in its territory and territorial sea and is part of the Philippines’ administrative responsibility,” the DFA said.
“There is no obligation for the Philippines as the sovereign state to seek the approval of another when navigating its own territorial sea,” the statement added.
China has frequently initiated incidents in the West Philippine Sea, including collisions with Philippine ships and the use of water cannons against Filipino fishermen.
Two weeks ago, the Chinese Coast Guard blockaded and rammed an AFP-contracted vessel in a resupply mission in BRP Sierra Madre.
Citing international law, the DFA has urged Beijing to withdraw its vessels from the West Philippine Sea.
“Chinese authorities are reminded that its apparent exercise of maritime law enforcement powers, interference with Philippine vessels, harassment and intimidation of Filipino fisherfolk, or any other activity that infringes upon the Philippines’ sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction in Bajo de Masinloc and the West Philippine Sea are violations of international law, particularly UNCLOS and the Arbitral Award,” the DFA said.
Despite the 2016 arbitral ruling favoring the Philippines, China does not acknowledge Philippine sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea and its EEZ.