Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Tuesday his office never gave a Chinese survey ship permission to stay in Catanduanes for several days while riding out rough seas.
The vessel, Jia Geng, left Cabugao Bay at 6 a.m. Monday after seeking refuge there since Friday, the Philippine Coast Guard said. It was unclear why the Chinese vessel was in the Philippines EEZ or exclusive economic zone.
"DFA never gave permission to Jia Geng. For humanitarian reasons DFA okayed the emergency Chinese embassy request for shelter against bad weather. Request for shelter; not permission to stay and be watched. Period," he said.
Locsin said that on Jan. 28, the Chinese Embassy in Manila requested the DFA by phone to allow a Chinese marine research vessel to take refuge in Cabugao Bay. The following day, the request was made in writing through a diplomatic note.
The incident in Catanduanes occured as the Philippines protested a new law in China that allows the Chinese Coast Guard to use force to enforce Beijing's claims. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. called it a threat of war.