FIVE Chinese warships passed Sibutu Strait anew without permission from Philippine authorities, a military official said on Wednesday.
Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said two Chinese warships were spotted in July and three in August.
Sobejana said the Chinese ships “were not hostile” although what they did was “not an innocent passage.”
“Because when you say innocent passage, it’s only a straight line while they had curved route. That is no longer considered as innocent passage,” Sobejana told reporters in a phone patch at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
The Chinese ships were spotted during WestMinCom’s aerial and naval patrols of the area, Sobejana said.
He did not say, however, if the military would be recommending the filing of another diplomatic protest, deferring to the national government to make that decision. DEMPSEY REYES