MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte sees the unannounced passage of Chinese warships through Philippine waters as an "issue," his spokesman said Monday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said foreign vessels passing through Manila's waters should inform Philippine authorities as stated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
"It is an issue with the Office of the President given that we need to be informed in advance of any passage in our territory because that is what the UNCLOS says," Panelo told reporters.
The government has raised concerns over the passage of 5 Chinese warships in the Sibutu Strait in the Philippines' southern tip last July and earlier this month without informing local authorities.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Monday the country must file another diplomatic protest against Beijing over Chinese ships "trespassing" in Philippine waters.
Earlier in the day, Panelo said the President would raise the increasing presence of Beijing's ships in Manila's waters, as among "irritants" in the two countries' relations when the chief executive flies to China later this month.
"I feel that since we’re friends, any issue can be discussed and threshed out," Panelo told ANC's Headstart.