MANILA - The Philippines is filing a diplomatic protest to Beijing following Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s statement questioning the presence of Chinese research vessels and warships in Philippine waters, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddy Boy' Locsin said Friday.
"Okay, got it, General. @DFAPHL firing off diplomatic protest,” Locsin said on his Twitter account.
On ANC's Headstart Friday, Lorenzana urged the Philippine government to ask Beijing why Chinese research vessels and warships are entering Philippine waters.
"Nobody is prevented from doing their research" in the area, as long as Manila is informed about it beforehand, said Lorenzana.
"If the intention is only to study the sea or the fish, marine life there, then it is not a security threat. But if they're doing other things like making reconnaissance or surveillance of our positions, then it's a threat," the defense chief said.
Chinese oceanographic survey ships Zhanjian and Dong Fang Hong 3 have been conducting marine scientific research in the country's EEZ this week, according to Ryan Martinson, an assistant professor at the China Maritime Studies Institute of the US Naval War College.
The Zhanjian has been operating in the Philippines' EEZ since Saturday while Dong Fang Hong 3 was spotted near northern Luzon on Wednesday, according to Martinson.
Locsin had earlier tweeted that he would rather wait for information coming from the military before taking action.
"But again I wait for the Army to tell me before firing a diplomatic response because civilians lie by nature especially when they're job is telling the news which is easier made up than found and laboriously reported," said Locsin in a tweet.