The deployment of a Chinese aircraft carrier to train off the waters of West Philippine Sea raised tensions in the already volatile situation of the resource-rich region, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday.
Raul Hernandez, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said that the deployment of the Chinese vessel is in violation of the 2002 Declaration on the Code of Conduct, which was signed by Beijing and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to reduce political tensions in the region.
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which delineates maritime boundaries.
“Its deployment does not contribute to collective efforts to strengthen regional stability and instead serves to threaten the status quo,” Hernandez said.
China’s actions came amid a maritime dispute with the Philippines over the resources of the West Philippine Sea, and with Japan because of Beijing’s plan to establish airspace defense zone over the disputed waters of East China Sea.
The Liaoning, bought used from Ukraine and refurbished in China, has conducted more than 100 exercises and experiments since it was commissioned last year but this is the first time it has been sent to the disputed region, which has been a potential military flashpoint.
The Chinese Navy said it was a routine training program.
The Philippines and China have been in an intense territorial dispute since April last year when their navies engaged in a standoff at the Scarborough Shoal.