Philippine Department of National Defense said the reported plan of United States Navy’s plan to sail warship 12 nautical miles within the waters of artificial islands created by China in West Philippine Sea pending US President Barack Obama’s approval shows US respect for rule of law. “They have always been doing that in the first place, they said that they will fly, they will sail in the areas that they have been doing before just to prove that there is freedom of navigation,” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said today.
Meanwhile, Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Department of Foreign Affairs is currently validating the said report with the US government “before we issue any comment considering how sensitive the situation is.”
The Navy Times and Washington Post have reported, quoting US military and defense officials, that American warship will be tasked to pass-by 12 nautical miles within the waters of China’s fake islands to challenge China’s sovereignty claim and demonstrate that it is international water. Reports said that US President Barack Obama is yet to approve the move.
“Whether that is a destroyer loaded out with missiles or an LCS with less weapons, the point wouldn’t be about which weapons the Navy is sending,” a US defense official said speaking to The Post on condition of anonymity. “The objective to this would be to demonstrate that this is international water.”
At the Royal Australian Navy Seapower Conference in Sydney, Australia October 6, US Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Scott Swift talked about UNCLOS and freedom of navigation and overflight. He said “it cannot be parsed, minced, or revised by any one nation’s domestic laws. It cannot be halted by coercion or encroachment. It endures regardless of competing maritime claims, no matter how longstanding or disputed, regardless of their being conceived by nature, or manufactured by man.”
He added that “some nations in this region continue to impose superfluous warnings and restrictions on freedom of the seas in their exclusive economic zones and claim territorial water rights that are inconsistent with UNCLOS.”