Philippine President Aquino citing a recent report from Armed Forces of the Philippines said that two Chinese hydrographic research vessels are operating at Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea. Aquino told TV5 in an exclusive interview initially aired last Wednesday night and was aired in full Sunday night August 17.
“What are they doing there? What studies are they conducting? I hope [this] will not lead to increased tension between [our government and China],” Aquino told TV5.
Aquino said , “Just a reminder, Recto Bank is clearly within our exclusive economic zone.”
According to President Aquino, China has an unpredictable attitude towards Philippines when dealing with maritime disputes. “There’s a season when China’s belligerent. There’s a season when it’s friendly. There’s a time when it goes on a charm offensive. There’s a time when it doesn’t.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs also made its statement clearing its stand over Recto Bank. “In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Philippines has the exclusive sovereign rights over the Recto (Reed) bank. No other state is lawfully entitled to assert sovereignty or sovereign rights over the said area,”archipelago under UNCLOS.”
Philippine authorized firm will start drilling in Recto Bank early 2016. In this quarter, Philippine government also expects the Permanent Court of Arbitration to release its decision regarding the government’s case against China’s claim over West Philippine Sea.