China dismisses Philippine concerns over its ships’ activities

UNTV News   •   March 11, 2017   •   4451

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang (REUTERS)

 

China on Friday dismissed concerns expressed by the Philippine defense minister over what he believed to be survey missions by its ships deep into the southeast Asian nation’s 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Amid a warming relationship, President Rodrigo Duterte has frequently praised China, but Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has remained openly suspicious, saying it has continued its fortification of manmade islands inside the Philippine EEZ.

Lorenzana said Chinese ships were monitored in recent months at locations near the Philippines, with a warship spotted 70 miles off its western coast in the South China Sea and survey ships seen to the north and south of its eastern seaboard.

He said satellite imagery provided by allies had tracked Chinese vessels for three months last year in Benham Rise, a vast area the United Nations has declared to be part of the Philippines’ continental shelf.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said its ships had every right of freedom of navigation in those waters, and its research ships did pass through seas northeast of Luzon Island last year.

“But this is purely carrying out normal freedom of navigation and right of innocent passage, and there were no so-called other activities or operations,” he told a regular news briefing.

“Comments from individuals in the Philippines on this do not accord with the facts.”To the northeast of Luzon is the Western Pacific, where China is increasingly carrying out military drills.

China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbors Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Poe denounces China’s demand to remove BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal

Maris Federez   •   November 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe has denounced China’s demand for the Philippine government to remove the BRP Sierra Madre from the Ayungin Shoal.

In a statement released Thursday (November 25), Poe underscored that the 2016 arbitral ruling of the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration “declared that Ayungin Shoal belongs to the Philippines and is well within our exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.”

“China has no right to dictate what we can do within our waters,” Poe reiterated.

“Its recent statement telling us to remove BRP Sierra Madre from the shoal is another display of utter arrogance and aggression that we must not take sitting down,” she added.

Poe urged the government to step up its efforts in addressing the issue in addition to the diplomatic protests that the Department of Foreign Affairs has filed against China.

“Aside from diplomatic protests, the government should step up efforts in rallying our neighbors to form a united front against China in the South China Sea,” Poe said.

“Time and again, several nations have stood by us and shared our goal of ensuring peace, stability, and harmony,” the lawmaker added.

Poe stressed that every country must always act in deference to the sovereignty of others.

“Mutual respect must always be the cornerstone of our relationship with any nation,” Poe said.

On Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian demanded that the Philippines must remove the grounded BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal, saying it should “honor its commitment.”

“China demands that the Philippine side honor its commitment and remove its grounded vessel on Ren’ai Jiao (Ayungin Shoal),” the Chinese official said in a briefing. “This position remains unchanged.”   —/mbmf

Defense chief Lorenzana tests positive for COVID-19 anew

Robie de Guzman   •   November 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed on Wednesday that he has again contracted COVID-19.

In a message to reporters, Lorenzana said he was informed of his test result earlier in the day but he has not manifested any symptoms.

He said he is fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

“This morning I got the result of my swab test yesterday afternoon after the Senate hearing. I am asymptomatic,” he said.

“Yes, I am fully vaxxed. I’ll observe myself for several days after that I’ll have another swab,” he added.

The Defense chief first tested positive for COVID-19 in April and recovered.

Lorenzana took a swab test after undergoing screening for COVID-19 on Tuesday when he physically attended a Senate hearing for his department’s budget for 2022.

With this development, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said they might suspend the budget deliberations on Thursday to give way for the testing of exposed Senate staff.

Lorenzana had interactions with several senators during the session. Among those who was exposed to him were Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Francis Tolentino.

Senators and staff who had contact with Lorenzana have been asked to undergo quarantine and get tested after five days.

Defense chief tells Filipinos: Be a hero by helping gov’t fight COVID-19 pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   August 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines ­— The Philippines’ Department of National Defense (DND) chief on Monday called on Filipinos to become heroes by adhering to the health protocols to combat the COVID-19 pandemic as the nation commemorates the National Heroes day.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that by strictly observing health protocols, Filipinos can protect themselves and the community against coronavirus and help win the fight through cooperation with authorities.

“Tunay ngang bawat isa sa atin ay maaaring maging bayani na mangangalaga at magtatanggol sa ating mga kapwa Pilipino. Sa pagsunod sa mga panuntunang pangkalusugan at pagsuporta sa mga programa gaya ng pagbabakuna, mapapangalagaan natin hindi lamang ang ating sarili kung hindi pati na rin ang ating komunidad,” Lorenzana said in a statement.

The defense chief also honored heroes of our history who offered their lives and sacrificed for the country.

“Despite the odds, our forebears fought side-by-side against the Spaniards, the Americans, and the Japanese to defend our nation,” he said

“More recently, we have witnessed heroism amongst our troops in protecting Zamboanga and Marawi against those who threatened to destroy our institutions and way of life,” he added.

Lorenzana urged the public to take inspiration from the legacy and bravery of Filipino heroes who fought for the country’s freedom and democracy.

“Today, we take inspiration from their legacy and heroism as we battle a new and dangerous invader, the COVID-19 virus. The challenges we currently face call upon all of us to become heroes ourselves,” he said.

“Gaya ng mga bayaning nagdaan, mapagtatagumpayan lamang natin ang ating laban kung tayo ay magtutulungan at magkakaisa. Sa gitna ng pagsubok na dulot ng pandemya, nawa’y maging inspirasyon natin ang mga bayani noon at ngayon upang gampanan natin ang ating tungkulin at magkaisa para sa kapakanan ng ating bayan,” he added.

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