By Aaron Recuenco
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana downplayed on Tuesday a Chinese warship’s act of pointing a laser gun on a Philippine Navy ship at the West Philippine Sea.
Lorenzana likened the incident that happened last February 17 within Philippine territory to the regular acts of intimidation and challenges by Chinese military personnel on every ship and plane passing at the West Philippine Sea.
The Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, has already filed a diplomatic protest against China.
While the laser gun is being used to acquire and lock the target for missile attack, Lorenzana said what was it was used against a Philippine Navy ship.
He, however, expressed doubt that the Chinese military would use it against a Philippine military warship.
“I told our Navy and Air Force that it is unlikely that they (China) will use their missile on our ship or airplane,” said Lorenzana during the Laging Handa briefing.
Instead, Lorenzana said the Chinese military was just likely testing the reaction of the Philippine Navy when it pointed the laser gun.
He added that the incident has no effect on the use of Philippine Navy ships getting medical supplies from China for use in the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Philippine government is locked in a territorial dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea. While the Philippines won the case it filed against China at the international arbitral tribunal, the Duterte administration has adopted a friendly stance toward China.