The Philippines will continue to 'observe' and 'verify' China's claims even if, for now, it has decided to just take China's word that its warships are merely exercising 'innocent passage
' when they illegally enter Philippine territory.
"They say it's an innocent passage
, no hostile intent, and they say if there are any concerns on the part of the Philippines, we can discuss it through diplomatic channels and also between military to military so as to clear the air," he said.
Equally worrisome for Philippine security officials was that all the warships switched off their Automatic Identification Systems, in violation of international protocols on innocent passage
. This is normally done by military vessels only during wartime, Philippine officials stressed, to avoid detection by the enemy.
While any foreign vessel may be allowed to cross a coastal state's territorial sea under Unclos without the need to notify the state if they are conducting innocent passage
, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana does not consider the passage of the Chinese ships as such because they did it several times.
Speaking in his native language he said [translated], "They were not hostile, but the thing is, it was not an innocent passage
because innocent passage
should be in a straight line.
"All countries should ensure the safe passage of merchant vessels, by respecting the Freedom of Navigation enshrined in Article 87(1)a and the Right of Innocent Passage
defined in Article 19 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [UNCLOS]," the joint statement reads.
"While the Sibutu strait is considered an international waterway where the commercial vessels' right of innocent passage
is upheld, the unannounced entry of Chinese armed warships into our territory is unacceptable, especially if China requires foreign warships to inform it of their presence before passing through its waters," Hontiveros said.
"Their reason is that it's innocent passage
, right of innocent passage
in usual sea lanes between Cebu to Bongao," Esperon said.
Although, all foreign flagged vessels have the right of innocent passage
in cases where territorial waters comprise of straits that are used for International navigation, such as the Strait of Hormuz.
He described the sail as an "innocent passage
", which was intended "to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law".
The topics include Japan's practice regarding the regulation on navigation of foreign vessels, navigation of foreign vessels in Malaysian waters: between compliance with international law and national regulation of discretion, archipelagic states and maritime navigation: perspectives and state practice of the Philippines, US practice regarding innocent passage
and navigational transit, and regulating the navigation of foreign vessels: New Zealand practice.
Within the territorial sea, other states enjoy a right of innocent passage
, which is navigation for the purpose of traversing that sea without entering the internal waters of a coastal state.