Lawmaker seeks probe on US warship-Chinese sub collision

July 30, 2009 8:53 am 

MANILA, July 30 — A lawmaker has sought a congressional inquiry into the reported collision of United States warship Sonar and a Peoples' Republic of China (PROC) submarine in Philippine waters.

ABAKADA GURO party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz, author of House Resolution 1244, said the collision and the presence of the two warships in Philippine waters should raise a question on whether the country's sovereign laws on territorial water were violated or not.

"The incident could be a total disregard of the country's sovereign laws and rights accorded it by international law," he said.

Dela Cruz said he was confident the investigation could recommend appropriate actions to protect and uphold the Philippine's national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

He said many people also wanted to know if the American vessel was carrying nuclear weapons.

"The USS John McCain — the warship — failed to give due notice to the Philippine government, if it carries nuclear weapons, which Philippine laws prohibit," he said.

Dela Cruz said that the 1987 Constitution prohibited the entry of nuclear weapons in Philippine territory.

"The Chinese military establishment also failed to explain the reason why their submarine was navigating under water, passing through Philippine waters contrary to the requirements of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)," he said.

The UNCLOS requires all submarines and underwater vehicles passing within the territorial seas of the signatory States of the convention, including the Philippines, to navigate on the surface and to show their flag.

US military officials said a Chinese submarine hit an underwater sonar array being towed by the destroyer UDD John McCain to listen and locate underwater sounds.

The US navy did not believe this was a deliberate incident of Chinese harassment, as it would have been extremely dangerous had the array gotten caught in the submarine's propellers.

On the other hand, the Chinese government labeled the collision as an accident, adding it probably occurred due to misjudgment of distance.

Malacanang, in an earlier statement, said there was no provocation on the collision of the two vessels. (PNA)



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