Malacañang on Sunday said it sees no problem with the entry of a Chinese navy fleet into the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) for patrols and drills.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the exercises involving the Chinese ships will be conducted in international waters.
“I’ve also read that report … and it did say that they were keeping to one of the international sea routes in international waters so it shouldn’t be a problem,” she said on government-run dzRB radio.
Earlier reports said a Chinese navy fleet including three Chinese warships entered the South China Sea on Friday for patrols and drills, after passing through the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and Luzon, an international sea route.
Since April 2012, the Philippines and China have been locked in a territorial dispute over the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.
Last year, Philippine forces spotted Chinese fishermen gathering marine species from the area but were blocked by Chinese ships when they tried to make arrests.
The Philippines and China are among six claimants — which also include Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan — to the Spratly Islands. — LBG, GMA News