PH: Freedom of navigation guaranteed to everyone

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, Jr. said freedom of navigation in West Philippine Sea is guaranteed to everyone by international law.

This is after United States Navy warship USS John S. McCain conducted freedom of navigation operations (FONOps) within the 12-nautical mile waters of Panganiban (Mischief) Reef.

Philippines’ Panganiban Reef, is currently controlled by China and also being claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. China expanded it into a fake island.

“Well, freedom of navigation is guaranteed and anyone can do it. So, we just need to monitor. And as long as it is within the bounds set forth by international law, then it is all right,” Brigadier General Padilla said in a press conference at Malacañang Palace today.

“US forces operate in the Asia-Pacific region on a daily basis, including in the South China Sea. All operations are conducted in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,“ Marine Lt. Col. Christopher Logan said in a statement.

“We are continuing regular FONOps, as we have routinely done in the past and will continue to do in the future. Summaries of these operations will be released publicly in the annual FONOps report, and not sooner,” the US military officer added.